UFC Fight Night 22 staff picks

UFC Fight Night 22” takes place Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The event is headlined by top-10 middleweight Nate Marquardt (29-9-2) taking on dangerous BJJ titan Rousimar Palhares (11-2) and will air live on Spike TV starting at 8 p.m. ET, immediately preceding the twelfth season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.

The staff has come together to give our thoughts and predictions on the “UFC Fight Night 22” fights, which also include The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Efrain Escudero (13-1) taking on undefeated lightweight Charles Oliveira (13-0), Jim Miller (17-2) faces Gleison Tibau (21-6), Cole Miller (16-4) takes on The Ultimate Fighter season nine winner Ross Pearson (11-3) and Yves Edwards (38-16-1) will fight John Gunderson (30-10-2).

Yves Edwards vs. John Gunderson

DENNY HODGE: With nearly 100 MMA fights combined between the two, experience will not be a factor for either of these veterans, who have both fought in almost every organization imaginable along the way. Gunderson has only been TKO’d once in his career, and has won over 70% of his fights by submission. Edwards is a wily veteran that will not get caught in a submission, but also will not be able to put away Gunderson in three rounds. That being said, Edwards will edge out a victory by decision over “Quick Guns.”

JOHN BUHL: It doesn’t seem like that long ago Yves Edwards was considered the best lightweight in the UFC. Of course there was a slight problem…the UFC had scrapped the division. As much as I’d like to see him make a nice run, I don’t think that will happen. But I think he’s shown enough to prove he can handle a fighter the level of John Gunderson. Edwards has a tendency, at times, to let his opponent push the pace and spend too much time countering, and that could give Gunderson a chance if he’s aggressive enough. Nevertheless, I think Edwards stays on his feet and strikes his way to a win on the scorecards.

RICHARD MANN: Recently Edwards has developed a slow plodding style. He stays on the outside and tosses out a few jabs and then looks to counter. Against Luis Palomino, Edwards probably loses if he does not score some occasional takedowns. Gunderson is not a better striker, but if he is aggressive this is his fight to lose. Gunderson by decision

BRIAN FURBY: Easily the two most experienced guys on the card, I think this is the dark horse to win fight of the night. Edwards wants to make sure his return to the UFC isn’t short-lived and Gunderson wants to impress in his third fight with the promotion. We should see a solid well-rounded fight. Crisp striking from Edwards and a good rolling session when Gunderson takes it to the ground. I think Yves’s speed will keep him just one step ahead for most of the fight, picking him up a close decision win. Edwards by split decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Yves Edwards has had a few incarnations within the UFC and there’s a reason they never last very long. He’s a solid well-rounded fighter who’s biggest win was probably over Hermes Franca (twice). This is Gunderson’s first UFC incarnation and so far he’s 1-1 within the organization. Gunderson is a seasoned vet too, but he’s younger than Yves, he’s taken less damage and has a lot less miles on his body. Because Yves has gone through this whole UFC experience a few times, subconsciously he probably realizes a title hunt is out of the question. Gunderson on the other hand, will still likely have that confidence and belief on his side that he could one day be a UFC champion. I like this match-up. I do think Yves will have the striking and speed advantage standing, but I’m going with Gunderson via third round submission.

Cole Miller vs. Ross Pearson

DENNY HODGE: Pearson won the 9th installment of the Ultimate Fighter franchise, and is 3-0 in the UFC, but is facing a very dangerous submission specialist in Cole Miller. Miller set the crowd on fire when he slapped a guillotine on Junie Browning last year at UFC Fight Night 18, finally shutting him up and sending him packing out of the UFC. Miller is coming off another submission victory over Dan Lauzon, but has been knocked out twice in his last 5 fights. Unfortunately for Pearson, he doesn’t have amazing power, and he will be at a disadvantage in the clinch despite his strength advantage. I’m going with Miller to get another submission victory in this one.

JOHN BUHL: I remember being underwhelmed by the level of talent on TUF 9, but since then I admit Pearson has impressed me. But Cole Miller could be his toughest test to date. Pearson could win the striking battle, though Miller’s reach will make things interesting. However, at some point Miller will get the fight to the ground and show off his dynamic submission game. Miller by second round guillotine choke.

RICHARD MANN: Pearson should be the more physical fighter here. Look for him to get the clinch and work Miller against the fence. If the fight goes to the ground, Miller will have a chance, but Pearson should be able to determine where the fight takes place. Pearson by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Miller has the reach advantage and Pearson isn’t hesitant to take a couple shots and work his way in to land some of his own. Miller has shown a marked improvement from fight to fight minus his losses to Jeremy Stephens and Efrain Escudero. Unfortunately for Miller, Pearson has that same power that can take Miller out. Pearson by TKO in Round 1.

JACK BRATCHER: Miller will be Pearson’s biggest name and probably toughest fight to date. Pearson should have the advantage on the feet although Miller’s height and reach will be a valuable asset. Pearson’s been on a nice run, having won his last four and he’s still undefeated in the UFC. I think Miller will introduce him to that next tier of lightweight talent and win this fight via first or second round submission.

Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau

DENNY HODGE: Talk about a frenetic pace…. This fight will be a hundred miles an hour. Tibau should be 6-0 in last 6 outings, but he lost a controversial decision to Melvin Guillard, breaking his win streak. Miller only has a single loss in the UFC, and that is to Gray Maynard who decisioned him early in 2009, but has won 4 straight since. Tibau is dangerous on the ground, and has shown improved take down ability of late. Getting Miller to the ground will not be easy, and even if he gets the take down, keeping him there will be even more difficult. Miller will just be too much for Tibau in this one. Miller by decision.

JOHN BUHL: We all know Tibau cuts a butt-load of weight. He’s physically intimidating and one of the biggest lightweights in the UFC. Whoopie doo. Miller has a very good submission game and strong enough wrestling to make up for Tibau’s brute strength. I also think Miller can outpoint Tibau on the feet and take this by unanimous decision.

RICHARD MANN: Miller certainly has all the physical tools and skills to be a top-five lightweight. However, he does not fight with a gameplan. Tibau should be able to continue to get takedown and win one of those boring decisions normally associated with American wrestler. Tibau by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Tibau is gigantic for a lightweight, and if Miller can’t neutralize Tibua’s takedowns early on, it’s going to be a long, painful (and potentially boring) night for Miller. However, Miller is crafty with his use of BJJ and should be able to work in a late submission win, or perhaps outlast Tibau on the feet with more crisp striking to squeak out a decision. I’m tempted to pick Tibau by decision, but I like the Miller brothers and this is Jim’s chance to get into title contention. Miller by submission in Round 3.

JACK BRATCHER: Jim Miller’s only two losses came against the number one and two lightweights in the world. That should tell you just about all you need to know about this fight. But, because Miller and Tibau’s skill sets are quite similar, and because of Tibau’s size and strenght, I don’t think it’s that cut and dry. This fight could either be a very technical grappling affair or come down to who has the tighter stand up game. Look for Miller to attempt a guillotine or two in this one. I think it may come down to Miller’s speed and I’m going to go with Miller either via decision or a third round submission.

Efrain Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira

DENNY HODGE: Oliveira comes in undefeated at 13-0, and has one submission victory to his credit in the UFC. Escudero has only one loss on his resume, and will have a fight on his hands in this one. Oliveira is a finisher with only one of his 13 fights going to the cards. Escudero will use his wrestling in this one to dictate where and how the fight goes down. Look for Escudero to utilize some ground and pound once he gets Oliveira into his world. Escudero by TKO.

JOHN BUHL: I’m certainly not counting out Oliveira. He’s talented, hungry, and aggressive, having only gone the distance once. I see Oliveira having the advantage on the feet, but Escudero should mix in enough takedowns to play it safe and grind out a decision win.

RICHARD MANN: A lot of people are excited about Oliveira because he has a nice glossy-undefeated record. However, he has really faced a lot of lesser competition. He may have a good ground game, but there is nothing to stop Escudero from getting takedowns and taking a decision. If Escudero keeps it on the feet, he will have an even greater advantage. Escudero by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: I like Oliveira in this fight. His 13-0 record isn’t as inflated as some say it to be, and he has the skills necessary to put away Escudero. I’d be willing to bet Mann will be rooting for Escudero due to his wrestling background, and I think his solid base will frustrate Oliveira for a bit before Oliveira finds his rhythm and starts picking away at Escudero enough to outlast him en route to a decision win. Oliveira by unanimous decision.

JACK BRATCHER: Oliveira is undefeated against 13 fighters you’ve never heard, however, seven of his wins came on three nights in tournament-style fights. Escudero’s sole loss came against Evan Dunham via armbar back in January. Escudero is deceivingly talented with significant wins over Cole Miller and Dan Lauzon. I think Oliveira is very hungry and he’s well-rounded. This is kind of a hard fight to call but after checking out some of Oliveira’s fights online I think Escudero’s wrestling is going to make the difference and I feel he will probably win a decision or possibly even a submission.

Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares

DENNY HODGE: The main event will feature two very tough guys. Neither guy has any quit in them, but Palhares will be outgunned in the stand up game with the always improving Marquardt. Palhares is an ace on the ground, and should change his nickname from “Toquinho” to “Heel Hook”, as he has finished 4 of his last 7 fights by heel hook, including his last two in the UFC. Nate was building momentum toward another title shot until he was derailed by Sonnen back in February, but will get back on track with a TKO finish of Palhares.

JOHN BUHL: Palhares is strong as hell and a beast on the ground, so a submission win is never out of the realm of possibility. But I think Nate is too well-rounded, with much better stand-up and a strong enough grappling game to fight off Palhares and keep the fight where he wants it. I’ll take Marquardt by 3rd round TKO.

RICHARD MANN: Clearly, Marquardt is the favorite here. However, if recent history has shown us anything it is that leg locks are the ultimate equalizer in MMA. Fighters without efficient wrestling can get takedowns by rolling for legs. Palhares is a nasty leg locker and even nearly finished Dan Henderson with one. Marquardt should be able to win the fight on the feet, but Palhares brings an X factor to the fight. Marquuardt by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Palhares is a solid fighter, and his adaptation of BJJ for MMA has given him a solid offense and defense inside the cage. However, Marquardt is too well-rounded and powerful for Palhares to handle. Provided Marquardt resists the urge to pile drive Palhares like he did Leites, he should be on the winning end of a TKO victory about midway through the fight. Marquardt by TKO in Round 2.

JACK BRATCHER: If you follow our staff picks, you probably know I often like the underdogs but not in this case. Rousimar has the potential to submit anyone in the world and I think I like his style of jiu-jitsu just about better than anyone’s. But Nate has sort of built his career around beating up jiu-jitsu guys… Maia, Horn, Lister, Gouveia. The BetUS odds have Rousimar at +190 and Nate at -240. I don’t think Nate will be able to finish Palhares, no one has yet, but he should be able to use his striking and wrestling to take home a unanimous decision. I’m more interested to see how well this fight can pull off its main event status.


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  • John Buhl

    Is it too late to change my mind on Escudero vs. Oliveira since Efrain came in 4 pounds over?

  • I don’t know about that. Gina Carano never lost until she made weight.

  • John

    Thanks for the picks guys! A day early at that…

  • Frankie J

    Richard Mann,

    I think its clear you don’t know, Carano’s been over only twice. Keep being informed by net forums and not official news.

  • john buhl

    Actually, Frankie, after doing some research, I know Carano missed weight — badly — for the Young fight. And that was after EliteXC basically set up the 140 pound class to suit her. Then, against, Kobold, she failed to make it the first two times on the scale, but finally made it on the third try. I don’t claim to know the exact weigh in results from her previous fights, but it was already a topic of discussion before the Young fight. And right after Carano missed weight before fighting Young, Young’s coach openly admitted they weren’t surprised…at all. On top of that, an old Kevin Iole article claims she missed weight a total of three times before the Cyborg fight.

  • john buhl

    I guess what I’m trying to say is a world where we can’t joke about Carano’s adventures on the scale isn’t a world I want to live in.

  • lol

    When Carano was 6-0, she had missed weight 4 times. She was overweight for her fights against Julie Kedzie, Tonya Evinger, Rosi Sexton and Kaitin Young. For the Young fight, she was 4.5 pounds overweight. Also, as John eloquently points out, she was fighting at a weight class specifically designed for her so she could fight 135-pound women.

    If we can’t make fun of Carano for that, then what can we joke about?

  • David Shrewsbury

    Richard Mann wrote: “Palhares is a nasty leg locker and even finished Dan Henderson with one.”

    Uhm, didn’t Henderson nullify all of Palhares submission attempts, keep the fight standing the majority of the time, and out-point Palhares for a decision victory? (Actually, I’m sure that’s what happened.) They haven’t fought twice have they?

  • John

    For all the work that you guys do, there seems to be some hating going on in here?

  • john buhl

    I’ll have to stop defending Richard and agree that Henderson did not submit to the leglock. It was nasty and Hendo limped back to his corner at the end of the round, but Henderson won the fight by decision.

  • Wow. I meant to say “even nearly…” Thanks for picking up the Typo D. Shrews

  • edub

    Alright guys all is well. I know you were waiting intently on my expertise in the picking department so I will make you suffer no longer:

    Escudero by TKO- I think his wrestling will nullify everything Oliveira tries to do. The four pound weight advantage can only help that I feel.

    Pearson by dec.- Pearson has better, better wrestling, better clinch work, he’s faster, and he’s stronger. My thoughts on this fight coincide with Miller’s recklessness, and I think that get’s him countered and smashed on the ground all fight. Ross might even get a late TKO.

    Gunderson by Dec.- Wrestling wins fights in the UFC, and although it pains me to say this, Yves is no where near a top notch fighter anymore. Even at his best he would have had problems with guys like Gunderson(although he probably would’ve put him away). It’ll probably be a close fight so I hope I am wrong.

    Gleison Tibau by Dec.- I made sure to bet on this fight when it made the lines. Tibau is the betting underdog, but(IMO of course) he is a terrible style matchup. His double leg is one of the best in the UFC and Miller has had trouble with people who can out muscle him. Probably gonna be a at least 3 stand ups in this fight. It won’t help Miller when Tibau walks into the cage at 250lbs.

    Marquardt by dec.- “Paul Harris” is a block of muscle, and maybe second to only Maia in the UFC where BJJ acumen is measured but this is Nate’s fight to lose. I see Marquardt fending off a tough first round, and cruising the next two by picking apart Rousimar on the feet beating him up a little on the ground when he tires.

    Gina Carano is dead sexy. I don’t care if she weighs 170.

  • EW, why do you always have to pick the same winners as me? Why you gotta ride my coattails?

  • edub

    No way I picked the same as you again.

    Wow, that is just terrible. It’s gotta have something to do with wrestling. I did pick Escudero by TKO though!

    Ummm.. I will change things up by picking Edward since I was back and forth on that one.


  • Fine. If you beat me, which is to say if Edwards wins, I’ll send you a prize.

  • edub

    Good. I want a pony.

  • You don’t get to pick the prize. Email me your info at