the score

UFC's Erwin Debut

Full card and weigh-in for Fight Night 22

By Richard Whittaker, 7:00AM, Wed. Sep. 15, 2010

Rafael Natal feels good about himself after just making the weight for UFC Fight Night 22: Dana White (r) holds the towel to cover his modesty
Photo by Brandon Bollom

Used to be, if you thought about a sports promoter, it was Don King and that shock of hair. These days, it'll be Ultimate Fighting Championship impresario Dana White, who was in Austin on Tuesday for the weigh-in and full card reveal for tonight's Ultimate Fight Night 22 at the Frank Erwin Center.

The fully loaded 10-match card (six "dark," four televised on Spike TV) is UFC's first trip to Austin, and draws primarily on the promotion's talent-heavy middleweight and welterweight divisions. Quick reminder: The first bout starts at 3:30pm, with the televised bouts starting at 7pm.

All in all, Tuesday afternoon's public weigh-in was a well-attended and affable event. There were cheers for all the fighters, especially for Houstonian Yves Edwards, back in the octagon for the first time since UFC 61 and wearing a Longhorns shirt for the home crowd.

Ross Pearson and Cole Miller get up close during the weigh-in for UFC Fight Night 22
Photo by Brandon Bollom

In fact, the only real nosecrusher of a face-off came in the staredown between The Ultimate Fighter season nine winner Ross "The Real Deal" Pearson and Cole Miller, who seemed ready to throw down right then and there. For most of the fighters, the big competition seemed to be who could wear the most exotic underwear for when they stripped down for the scales. Seriously, who even knew they made Batman Underoos in adult sizes?

It'll be a different story tomorrow. In the main event, five-year UFC veteran Nate "The Great One" Marquardt comes in from a loss by unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen at UFC 109. He'll be facing a tough challenge from relative newcomer Rousimar Palhares, who's crammed five fights into a two-year UFC career and is currently 4-1-0 in the world's top promotion.

During a conference call last week, Marquardt was asked about having the the bout switched from midcard at UFC 188 to headlining tonight. He said, "Every fight I go into, you know, I have a strong will and a strong want to win. And, you know, I don't think I need to add any extra pressure to myself by worrying about it being a main event or whatever."

The good-natured calm before tomorrow's storm: Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares toe-to-toe at the UFC Fight Night 22 weigh-in
Photo by Brandon Bollom

As for his loss to Sonnen, he said: "I was unable to defend the takedowns from my last fight, and that's why I lost the fight. And now I'm going to be more prepared to defend the takedown, no matter who I'm fighting."

In the featured bout, winner of Ultimate Fighter season eight Efrain Escudero faces Charles Oliveira, who made a stunning UFC debut in August when he got Darren Elkins to tap out in 41 seconds. Originally scheduled as a lightweight bout, this was reclassified as catchweight when Escudero failed to make weight but Oliveira accepted the match anyway (if that sounds risky for the young Brazilian, if probably helps Escudero had to hand over 20% of his purse.)

Last time Escudero was on a Fight Night card, he suffered his first ever professional MMA defeat, tapping to an arm bar from Evan Dunham. Blaming that loss on his cardio, Escudero said: "[Dunham] capitalized on my mistakes. And, you know, I think I've gained a lot more from that loss than I would have gained from a victory."

Escudero was originally supposed to face Matt Wiman, who was replaced after an injury in practice. Asked about the swap, Escudero said, "It was in a 48 window span where everything moved so quickly," and as a result "we had to switch some things up a little bit." Explaining his prep work with his team, he added, "You know, we have worked our jujitsu. We've worked on our wrestling. We've worked on our stand-up. We have worked on everything."

Full card, win-loss-draw histories and weigh-in results below:

Spike TV Bouts
Nate Marquardt (32-9-2, 186lb) vs. Rousimar Palhares (20-2-0, 186lb)
Efrain Escudero (14-1-0, 159lb) vs. Charles Oliveira (12-0-0, 154lb)
Jim Miller (17-2-0, 155.5lb) vs. Gleison Tibau (21-6-0, 154lb)
Ross "The Real Deal" Pearson (11-3-0, 156lb) vs. Cole Miller (16-4-0, 156lb)

Preliminary Bouts
Yves Edwards (38-16-1, 155lb) vs. John Gunderson (30-10-2, 156lb)
Jared Hamman (12-2-0, 205lb) vs. Kyle Kingsbury (8-2-0, 206lb)
Tomasz "Gorilla" Drwal (17-3-1, 185.5lb) vs. Dave Branch (6-1-0, 186lb)
Rich "The Raging Bull" Attonito (8-3-0, 185lb) vs. Rafael "Sapo" Natal (8-2-0, 186lb)
David Mitchell (11-0-0, 170.5lb) vs. TJ Waldburger (12-5-0, 171)
Forrest Petz (24-8-0, 170lb) vs. Brian Foster (15-5-0, 170.5lb)

UFC Fight Night 22, Wed., Sept. 15. First bout, 3:30pm; main card, 7pm. Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River, 477-6060. $30-185. www.uterwincenter.com.

write a letter