Nathan Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares
Marquardt is coming off a three round domination by Chael Sonnen, but despite that he’s still one of the best the middleweight division has to offer.
Palhares is a physically strong and tough competitor who possesses extremely dangerous submissions, but Marquardt is well versed in jiu-jitsu himself and the Brazilian doesn’t have the wrestling to dominate him the way Sonnen did on the ground.
Marquardt is an extremely well-rounded fighter and I expect that to shine through over the course of three rounds of fighting, particularly during the stand-up exchanges.
Prediction: Nate Marquardt to win by decision.
Efrain Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira made a promising start to his UFC career, taking less than a minute to submit Darren Elkins to go 13-0 in his career to date. This is a big step up in competition though, coming in at short notice to take on TUF season 8 winner Escudero, and perhaps a step to far too soon.
I think Escudero should have a comfortable advantage on the feet and his wrestling will allow him to dictate where the fight takes place. I like him to rough up the Brazilian in both aspects of the game and perhaps even pick up a win inside the distance.
Prediction: Efrain Escudero to win by TKO in Rd3
Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau
This is perhaps the toughest fight to call on the card as both fighters have similar skill-sets, based largely around their jiu-jitsu and wrestling credentials.
Miller is the more versatile of the two, and the more active when it comes to trying to finish fights, but Tibau’s size and tendency to stifle his opponents on the ground pays dividends more often than not.
I think on this occasion that could help him to neutralize Miller’s offense and grind out a win, though it would not be a big surprise to see his opponent’s hand raised at the end.
Prediction: Gleison Tibau to win by decision.
Ross Pearson vs. Cole Miller
The UK’s Ross Pearson has been in fine form since winning TUF season 9, but Cole Miller will be his toughest test to date and should give an indication of where he stands in the division.
Miller is an all action fighter who’s frenetic pace, submission skills and height / reach advantage could pose serious problems, to the short and stocky Pearson. Pearson’s boxing is developing nicely though with decent power and good footwork, and I think if he picks his shots he can take advantage of Miller’s sometimes reckless offense, and less than stellar chin.
He’s also naturally strong, works well inside and I believe Miller will have difficulty getting him to the mat. It should be a close encounter, and possible fight of the night candidate, but I’m edging leaning slightly towards the Brit.
Prediction: Ross Pearson to win by decision.
Yves Edwards vs. John Gunderson
Jared Hamman vs. Kyle Kingsbury
Dave Branch vs. Tomasz Drwal
Rich Attonito vs. Rafael Natal
David Mitchell vs. Anthony Waldburger
Brian Foster vs. Forrest Petz