COLE MILLER VS. ROSS PEARSON
The first round was a classic stand up brawl, with Cole being the active one, mixing everything up rather well, but with Pearson showing the more refined striking abilities; picking his shots carefully and landing them with crisp precision. Both fighters' game plans were pretty clear late in the round: Pearson wanted to set up Cole for a solid knockout punch, and Cole wanted to get Pearson to the ground and submit him. The first round was rather even, though, and either fighter could have won it.
Pearson still wasn't out, though, so Cole immediately jumps on his back and locks in a rear naked choke. Pearson taps out and Cole finishes the fight.
JIM MILLER VS. GLEISON TIBAU
Gleison Tibau is a very large 155-pounder. He's very well-muscled and is incredibly strong, and has plenty of gas in the tank as well. I predicted that he would use these strengths to overpower Miller and win via his patented ground and pound, or possibly a submission.
Jim Miller really showed me. He was clearly the more skilled out of the two fighters, as his prowess both standing up and on the ground always threatened Tibau in some way. Miller outstruck Tibau throughout much of the match, and when Tibau would use his gargantuan strength to slam Miller into the mat, he would be unable to follow up with anything truly effective. The fight would go back and forth like this for the entire three rounds, and while Miller was unable to finish Tibau, he at least bested him in pretty much every aspect of the game.
Jim Miller walks away with the unanimous decision.
EFRAIN ESCUDERO VS. CHARLES OLIVEIRA
I picked Escudero to win this fight since he's the bigger, stronger wrestler. I thought he would be able to slam Oliveira multiple times on the ground, control him there, and then eventually finish him off via ground and pound. Boy, was I wrong. So very wrong.
Oliveira came out with some impressive head and leg kicks, and mixed up his Muay Thai so well throughout the entire match. The first round was a bit slow, as both fighters were still feeling each other out, but one could easily tell who the better striker was.
The second round starts and Oliveira is much more confident in his range and timing. He begins dancing around and taunting Escudero, almost mimicking Anderson Silva, while still being very aggressive and effective with his combinations. Escudero plays along, though, but things start to look really bad for him when Oliveira begins taking him down multiple times, and shows that he might also be better on the ground than him. Still, though, throughout the second round, it was Oliveira's increasingly impressive stand up game that shone through, and it involved leg kicks. Lots of them.
Escudero comes out of his corner almost looking like the leg kicks have taken a sort of toll on him. He looks a bit slower and much less confident this time around. Oliveira, on the other hand, only seems to become much faster and more dynamic with each passing minute. And three minutes into the final round, he manages to get ahold of Escudero's back and finish him off with a standing rear naked choke.
Incredibly impressive win from a very young (he's only 20 years old!) and up and coming competitor. This fight certainly showcased how much potential this kid has, and I'll be very sure to keep a close eye on him in future UFC events.
Check out more amazing photos of UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares over at the official UFC website and check out my review of the main event!