Marquardt stopped Palhares -- a Brazilian Top Team representative who had never before been finished -- on first-round punches in the UFC Fight Night 22 headliner on Wednesday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Referee Herb Dean intervened on Palhares' behalf 3:28 into Round 1.
Palhares had his chance and blew it. In top position after a hard-earned takedown and subsequent scramble, the leg lock expert dropped down for an attempted heel hook. Marquardt slipped from his grip, and Palhares motioned toward Dean to complain about his opponent's leg being "greased." Marquardt pounced, blitzed the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a crackling right hand and finished him with unanswered punches from the top.
"They checked it before I fought," said Marquardt, who improved to 9-3 inside the UFC. "The thing is, I came out really warm because I wanted a good sweat. I wanted to be slippery. I just saw an opportunity and jumped on it."
Unbeaten Oliveira finishes Escudero
In what was a coming-out party of sorts, unbeaten Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira submitted "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero with a third-round rear-naked choke in the co-main event. Escudero met his demise 2:25 into Round 3.
Just 20 years old, Oliveira dazzled with high-risk strikes -- some of which landed, some of which did not -- and punished Escudero with kicks to the legs and body. Outside of a few elbow strikes from top position on the ground in the first round, Escudero was effectively neutralized throughout their encounter.
Oliveira seized an opening in the third round, clinching with Escudero, bouncing off the cage and bringing the MMA Lab representative to the ground in a spectacular takedown. He then caught a rising Escudero in a scramble, cinched the choke, tightened his grip and waited for the tapout.
Jim Miller outpoints Tibau
AMA Fight Club representative Jim Miller outstruck and outworked Gleison Tibau en route to a unanimous decision in another key showdown at 155 pounds. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Miller, who improved to 7-1 inside the Octagon and strengthened his position in the lightweight division.
Miller wobbled Tibau with stout punches in Rounds 1 and 2, finding the mark with a powerful jab in the first and a blistering straight left in the second. One of the sport's largest and most powerful lightweights, Tibau survived the blows and scored with a pair of takedowns. But Miller stayed aggressive from his back, kept the Brazilian on his heels and returned to his feet without much resistance.
The two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts spent much of the third round dueling in the clinch, but Miller scored effectively with combinations and stuffed his foe's only takedown attempt. The defeat snapped Tibau's two-fight winning streak.
Cole Miller tags, submits Pearson
American Top Team's Cole Miller submitted "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 9 winner Ross Pearson with a second-round rear-naked choke in their featured lightweight tilt. The tapout came 1:49 into Round 2, as Miller posted his fourth victory in five appearances.
Blessed with a 5-inch height and 4-inch reach advantage, Miller used his length effectively throughout the match. Believed to be the lesser striker, he stood toe-to-toe with Pearson, pausing occasionally to try to draw the Team Rough House standout into a ground battle.
Pearson never took the bait, and a little less than two minutes into the second period, Miller cracked him with a mean left hook against the cage. He followed with another punch on his downed foe, seized back control and went immediately to the choke. From there, surrender was a formality, as Miller handed Pearson his first defeat inside the Octagon.
"I'm just happy I came out here and did what I said I was going to do," Miller said. "I see all these wrestlers, point-fighting strikers and lay-and-pray jiu-jitsu guys -- they're all doing the same thing. Nobody's trying to finish, pass guard, mount, nothing. Just control the clock. This isn't football. People have to come in here and fight."
Brian Knapp is a contributor to Sherdog.com.