• Ultimate Fight Night 22

Controversy overshadows bizarre Marquardt victory

ESPN staff
September 16, 2010
Nate Marquardt swarms over Rousimar Palhares © Getty Images

Controversy threatened to overshadow the main event of Ultimate Fight Night 22, after Nate Marquardt was accused of greasing his ankle in the aftermath of his TKO victory over Rousimar Palhares.

Marquardt, who propelled himself right back in the middleweight title mix, stopped the fight at 3.28 of the first round with a barrage of punches to a grounded Palhares. However, the finish only arrived because Palhares had completely stopped fighting.

Having assumed control on the mat, the Brazilian looked for his famous heel hook - which has finished six of his previous opponents, but Marquardt instantly wriggled free. At that point Palhares, still on his back, looked outside of the cage and raised his hands in a questioning manner - clearly intimating that Marquardt had applied grease to make his ankles slippery.

Marquardt's head stayed in the fight and, seeing an opening, he nailed Palhares with a big right hand from a standing position before forcing the stoppage. The fight now over, Palhares embraced his rival before touching the ankle and then gesturing towards referee Herb Dean.

"They checked it before I fought, and the thing is I came in warm because I wanted to work up a good sweat and be slippery," said Marquardt, who has been cleared of any wrongdoing. "I saw an opportunity and jumped on him, we ended up in that scramble position, which I hadn't planned for, but I saw something and finished it."

Palhares later apologised for his actions, telling MMA Junkie: "I'm very sorry for the accusations I made. Nate Marquardt did not cheat in any way, and I'm very sorry to him and his team for my actions in the fight."

Earlier in the night, there was something of a shock defeat for British MMA as one of its brightest stars, Ross Pearson, lost to Cole Miller. Pearson, the winner of the lightweight division on TUF 9, tapped after 1.49 of the second round due to a rear naked choke.

The surprise was not so much that Miller had chalked up his fourth submission victory in five fights, but the fact that he created the opportunity by dropping Pearson - who had been expected to dominate the stand-up. Miller began his finish with a pinpoint right hand that staggered his foe, and then a flying knee set up a huge left hook, which left a floored Pearson open to the choke.

Miller had previously edged the first round, establishing his range with an effective jab and a variety of kicks, and he later supported Pearson's team-mate Dan Hardy in challenging the UFC's lay-and-pray artists to come out and fight.

"I see all these wrestlers, point-fighting strikers, and lay-and-pray jiu-jitsu guys all doing the same thing, not trying to pass guard, mount - nothing. It's the same as football, people have got to come in here and fight," said Miller.

Elsewhere, 20-year-old lightweight starlet Charles Oliveira produced a contender for submission of the year with a third-round standing rear naked choke against Efrain Escudero. Using the cage in spectacular fashion to slam Escudero to the mat, the Brazilian climbed onto the back of his foe as Escudero stood up, forcing the tap for his 14th unanswered victory.

Also on the main card, Jim Miller outstruck Gleison Tibau for a unanimous decison victory - his fifth straight win.

UFN 22 prelims:
Yves Edwards bt. John Gunderson via unanimous decision
Kyle Kingsbury bt. Jared Hamman via unanimous decision
Dave Branch bt. Tomasz Drwal via unanimous decision
Rich Attonito bt. Rafael Natal via unanimous decision
Anthony Waldburger bt. David Mitchell via unanimous decision
Brian Foster bt. Forrest Petz via TKO (punches) at 1:07 of Round 1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.