Ultimate Fight Night 22 in Austin, TX
The Ultimate Fighting Championship invaded central Texas last week, and TXMMA’s R. Scott Reis was there live to witness the action firsthand at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
The fights started at 3:30 and I have a normal 8-to-5 job so unfortunately I missed this fight. But to be honest, if you blinked you missed this fight. By all accounts what happened was after a brief feeling out process Foster floored Petz with a monster right hand and finished the job quickly on the mat, pocketing a $40,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus check in the process. Petz is probably out of the UFC (for the second time) after 2 consecutive losses, and Brian Foster can start gaining momentum in the division after his recent loss to Chris Lytle.
When I walked into the Frank Erwin Center, I was greeted by the sight of Texas’ own T.J. Waldburger transitioning seamlessly from the mount to the back and running an absolute clinic on the undefeated Californian, Dave Mitchell. It was already the third round, but my neighbors informed me that T.J. easily won the first two. The judges agreed, and T.J. walked away with the UD and the backing of a raucous crowd. Their fight set a new record for combined submission attempts in a fight at 13 (props to fightmetric).
Not the best fight by anyone’s standard, but certainly not bad. There just wasn’t a whole lot of noteworthy action. Attonito would land a good punch, or Natal would land a solid takedown, but it didn’t seem like either man really wanted to put a stamp on the match. Attonito did enough to walk away with the decision but didn’t look like a world beater. Natal was coming off a lot of momentum after knocking out UFC veteran Travis Lutter in the first round of Moosin – God of Martial Arts, but didn’t show the same killer instinct in this fight.
It was not the fight of the night, but Branch got it done against Drwal in a workmanlike decision. Drwal looked especially hesitant to open up on Branch, who scored with multiple takedowns through the night. Unable to get out from under Branch or launch any meaningful offense from his back, “Gorilla” resorted to holding on tight and relying for referee resets to get back to his feet. While this minimized damage, it slowed the pace of the bout to a crawl and meant that both fighters were absolutely drowned with boo’s for the length of the fight.
What a brawl. On paper, Kingsbury had better wrestling and Hamman had better striking. Kingsbury turned out to be better in both areas and it turned into a slugfest. Kingsbury scored with multiple well-timed takedowns throughout the fight but dealt a majority of his damage on the feet with some very clean boxing. Hamman scored as well with big shots, but it was Kingsbury who would walk away the victor. The fight was tagged as “Fight of the Night” which meant both competitors walk away with an extra $40,000. It is Jared Hamman’s second “Fight of the Night” bonus in two fights – when does he fight again?
Yves Edwards is back in the UFC with a bang. He absolutely dominated Gunderson in every area of the fight, battering him standing and outclassing him on the ground. Though Gunderson listed himself as “Born in Houston, Texas”, it was Edwards who stole the crowd’s support when Bruce Buffer belted out “…and fighting out of Austin, Texas!” If Yves Edwards can keep this kind of momentum and aggression going into his next few fights, he will make big waves in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Cole Miller came into this fight riding the current trend of hating on people who don’t finish fights (Cole has only had to go to decision 4 times in his 21 fights and only once in the UFC). He continually utilized his long reach against the shorter Pearson, and though he was at the wrong end of some big shots early in the fight, Miller came back in the second and knocked Pearson down and quickly finished with a rear naked choke. Miller received one of two $40,000 “Submission of the Night” checks and used his post-fight interview to continue his crusade against fighters that compete for the decision. The way he fights, that shouldn’t be too difficult (Miller has received “Submission of the Night” honors is 3 of his last 5 appearances – props CagePotato).
I expected a wrestlefest. Gleison Tibau had come into this fight boasting about how he “trained a lot of box” and was even coming off a dominating stoppage of Caol Uno due to strikes but I still didn’t believe it. Well, Miller and Tibau delivered, exchanging strikes for a majority of the 3 round affair. Tibau landed some takedowns, but couldn’t seem to do much on the ground. It was Miller who landed the biggest shots on the feet. After Miller got the Unanimous Decision I was surprised as I thought Tibau deserved it (but not too surprised, Cecil Peoples was a judge). Looking back though, it was much closer than I thought, and it could have gone either way.
Escudero missed weight, coming into the fight 4 pounds heavy, but the fans still firmly backed the Mexican fighter. Escudero’s fans were disappointed though, as Oliveira showed off dynamic striking throughout the fight and eventually finished with a fantastic slam that bounced Escudero off the cage and transitioned to a flying rear naked choke when “Hecho en Mexico” tried to get to his feet. “do Brox” received the second “Submission of the Night” $40,000 bonus check for his efforts.
The fight started slow, neither fighter wanting to commit. It would be Palhares who would charge forward with strikes and land a big takedown. Marquardt engaged in an ill advised reverse triangle attempt from the bottom of side control, but all this did was give Palhares his favorite submission target – the legs. Here’s where things got a little weird: Palhares dropped back for what looked like a tight heelhook attempt and Marquardt slipped out with relative ease. Still on his back, Palhares then turned to the official and started to say something when Marquardt blasted him with a right hand. After ten or fifteen more seconds of unanswered shots to the dazed Palhares, the official called the fight for Marquardt in front of a confused crowd. It turns out “Toquinho” was claiming Marquardt has greased his legs, but later apologized after officials checked Marquardt. Marquardt claims he got a good sweat going in the dressing room on purpose so he would be slippery. To date, no formal protest has been filed by Palhares’ camp. An anticlimactic way to end an otherwise great night of fights.
R. Scott Reis is an avid MMA fan and amateur MMA writer who has competed in jiu jitsu bouts all over Texas and recently made his amateur MMA debut. He writes and trains out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @TXMMAScott.