September 17, 2010
Lesson plans should be handed out to anyone who didn't fight at Ultimate Fight Night 22. The course? Possibly the most important thing in the fight game - killer instinct! Few fighters have it at the highest level and those who possess it are at the top of the game. Those who don't shouldn't look far to explain why their careers don't amount to what they'd hoped.
The best example of the night in Austin, Texas came from the Efrain Escudero-Charles Oliveira fight. Escudero, the winner of Season 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter," showed why he may be bound for a .500 career in the UFC, while Oliveira exhibited why he's a thoroughbred prospect.
Escudero's reputation began to take a hit on Tuesday when he missed weight. Don't forget that he also struggled to make weight at UFC 103. The third round said all you needed to know about the two fighters. With 3:26 left in the fight, Escudero drilled Oliveira in the groin. The Brazilian was down on the mat for a few minutes and even had to rub his crotch in an effort to "relieve" the pressure. The crowd began booing and Escudero starting mugging for the fans by smiling and waving to the them.
Focus was lost. Oliveira got to his feet, told Escudero everything was okay and then proceeded to unload on him. Escudero simply wasn't ready for the restart. By the time he knew what was going on, the TUF 8 king was caught in a standing rear-naked choke and didn't even attempt to slam Oliveira to the ground in one final effort to extricate himself. He just gave up. That's two fights and two submission of the night bonuses. Oliveira likely earned $14,000 from the fight (Texas doesn't release official salaries) but got an additional $40,000 for the finish. He also received a $40,000 bonus at UFC on Versus 2. Oliveira, 20, is far from a finished project but his skill set, led by a nasty streak is impressive.
Cole Miller is far from perfect in the cage but he knows how to seize an opportunity. Not known for his standup, he rocked Ross Pearson with 3:26 left in the second. The Brit's legs buckled. Just seconds later, Miller caught him again with a combination and Pearson had trouble setting his feet. Instead of cautiously moving forward, Miller charged with a big knee and then dropped Pearson with an awesome left hook. There was no settling into the guard for some ground and pound. Miller pounced and slapped on a rear-naked choke. He now has five finishes in six UFC wins. Killer instinct also pays off with the wallet. Miller has now cashed four bonus checks totalling $160,000. That's nice cash for a guy who's likely to make just $16,000 to show and $16,000 to win his next time out.
And it goes without saying that Nate Marquardt took a step forward because of his killer instinct. When Rousimar Palhares tried to pull a Jamie Varner and essentially call a timeout, Marquardt had no part of it. Sure it was served on a silver platter, but Marquardt smashed and devoured Palhares leaving the Brazilian plenty of time to complain about greasing after he lost. Marquardt didn't get the knockout of the night bonus, that went to Brian Foster.
Fighters who look for decisions will eventually see their careers hit a wall. It was good to see several of the stars and prospects at UFN 22 go for the kill.
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