UFC Fight Night 22 from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas has seen enough injuries to require two entirely new co-main events on Weds., Sept. 15. The event leads into The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 premiere with a middleweight tangle between former title challenger Nate Marquardt and leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Charles Oliveira meeting The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero in co-main event lightweight action.
Here are words each shared on Thursday’s conference call as they anticipate their contests live on SPIKE TV.
Nate Marquardt (29-9-2 MMA; 8-3 UFC)
On rebounding from February loss to Chael Sonnen: “My goal is to become the champion. Really, right now, I’m focused on my fight with Rousimar. He’s a very tough, dangerous opponent and I’m taking him seriously. Like I said, that’s my goal is to win the title and right now, that’s the way I’m gonna do it, by beating Rousimar.”
On Palhares’ leg locks: “No one is gonna be exactly like him, but I definitely feel comfortable with how prepared for this fight and I feel confident my teammates have given me a good look and a good game plan to fight him.”
On being bumped off UFC 118 to main event Fight Night 22: “I don’t feel extra pressure. Every fight I go into, I have a strong will and a strong want to win. I don’t think I need to add extra pressure to myself by worrying about it being a main event or whatever. I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna do my job. I’m gonna fight my hardest. Its gonna be an exciting fight and that’s all I have to worry about.”
On his place at 185-pounds: “I think a win against Palhares is a huge win…I definitely feel like I’m at the top of the division and I could bee or two fights away from a title shot.”
Rousimar Palhares (11-2 MMA; 4-1 UFC)
On holding submissions too long: “I saw a lot of people saying, implying that I’m someone I’m really not. I had no intention to harm anybody. I’m not like that.”
On fighting another Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt: “I fight easier for myself when I fight people with that kind of a background where they actually engage in jiu-jitsu.”
On being bumped off UFC 118 to main event Fight Night 22: “It actually was better. I got a more training time in, so it didn’t bother me at all.”
Efrain Escudero: (13-1 MMA; 3-1 UFC)
On Progression Since The Ultimate Fighter: “My progression has been great. I started being a total wrestler. It’s been two years now. I switched camps and everything. I’ve been working a lot on my jiu-jitsu, my jiu-jitsu, my stand-up. I’ve been working a lot you know since The Ultimate FIghter. I’ve been stuck at the gym and its been showing a lot on my fights. Expect a good fight on September 15.”
On recovering from first loss of career: “Being undefeated puts a lot of pressure on you always trying to be on top. I always said I put records aside, but at the end, the bottom line is that attitude doesn’t play a good role. Now that I got that first loss at out of my way, its one of those where I got caught making a mistake, I blame it a lot on my cardio, but [Evan] Dunham, I wish him the best. He capitalized on my mistakes. I thought I gained a lot more from that loss than I would have gained from a victory.”
On own expectations: “I’m trying to meet the best expectations out there. Every time I step into the Octagon, I want to give the best fight out there, put the best performance out there. I believe a lot in my training camp. We have work really, extremely hard for this camp. I’m actually looking forward to this fight. My camp’s real tuned in. We have done everything. We’ve worked our jiu-jitsu, we’ve worked on our wrestling, we’ve worked on our stand up, we’ve worked one everything. This is MMA and we’ve got to be on top of the world at every level so we can continue moving on.
On opponents change: “For me, we’re worried about what we’re bringing to the table. We’re not worried about what they’re gonna bring to the table. We’re making the fight our fight and we’re gonna out there and do our job. For us, being in top shape and being ready to fight anyone they throw at us is our main priority and our main coach.”
Charles Oliveira (13-0 MMA; 1-0 UFC)
(Oliveira celebrates his win over Elkins.)
On accepting short notice fight: “The first fight that I had in the UFC was very quick. I don’t feel weakness in anything. So I was in very good great shape. When I heard the news about fighting right away, that didn’t stress me at all because I was already training anyway.”
On being SPIKE TV co-main event: “This is very good, but you want to fight the best event, the best of the best, you’ve got to take short notice like that. This is normal.”