Escudero Knows Oliveira Is Hungry; Marquardt Says Hardy Shouldn’t Complain

By Joe Myers Sep 9, 2010
Efrain Escudero will be making his fifth straight appearance on Spike TV when he takes on Charles Oliveira in a featured fight at UFC Fight Night 22, which is set for Sept. 15 in Austin, Texas.

"The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner, Escudero is expecting a tough fight from Oliveira, who is a late replacement for Matt Wiman.

"I think it's a great fight and an exciting fight," said Escudero during a Thursday conference call. "It's (Oliveira's) time to shine. He's coming off a good win and wants to move up the ladder. I've worked very hard for this camp and I'm looking forward to this fight. We've worked on everything from jiu-jitsu to wrestling to standup. You have to be on top of everything to keep moving up in the world."

Oliveira, a member of Bronx's Gold Team in Brazil, is unbeaten in 13 professional MMA fights and has 12 finishes (six knockouts, six submissions) to his credit. He is coming off an impressive first-round armbar submission win over Darren Elkins at UFC on Versus 2 in August. The fight lasted just 41 seconds and was the eighth first-round finish of his career.

Oliveira said stepping in for Wiman on short notice is something he had to do if he wanted to move up the ladder in the UFC's 155-pound division.

"The (Elkins win) was quick," Oliveira said through a translator. "I was in good shape after the fight. I got back to Brazil and was in training when I got the news about fighting right away. It wasn't a problem since I'd already been training. I want to fight the best of the best in the big events, and if I have to take things on short notice, that's OK."

Escudero last fought in May, when he rebounded from the lone loss of his career to score a unanimous decision over Dan Lauzon at UFC 114. In January he had submitted to Evan Dunham in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 20 bout.

"(Before the loss) I always told myself that I never put a lot of pressure on myself about being unbeaten," Escudero said. "But it's a lot of pressure to be unbeaten. Now that I've got that first loss out of the way, I feel like a weight's been lifted. I just got caught making a mistake and I blame it on my cardio. I gained more from that loss than I would have from a win."

The Escudero-Oliveira matchup serves as the main supporting bout to the headliner, a middleweight contest pitting Nate Marquardt against Brazilian Rousimar Palhares.

In other notes from Thursday’s conference call:

• Marquardt, who has 22 finishes (seven knockouts, 15 submissions) among his 29 victories and is a former King of Pancrase, panned Dan Hardy's recent comments about wrestlers in mixed martial arts. "I think it's coming from someone not a good wrestler," said Marquardt, who trains with Jackson's MMA in New Mexico. "Wrestling is a big part of MMA. (Hardy) shouldn't complain about it. He should learn how to defend it. In this sport, there are trends. Sometimes strikers dominate the sport and then wrestlers dominate. It's just something you have to prepare for."

• The Marquardt-Palhares fight was originally scheduled to be on the UFC 118 card before being moved into the main event slot of the Fight Night event. Marquardt said being moved to the main event doesn't add any pressure for him and that he'll be looking to end the fight as soon as possible. "Every fight I go into, I have a strong will and want to win," said Marquardt, who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. "I'm going to go out and fight my hardest and that's all I have to worry about. I do look to finish fights and that's what fans want to see. My No. 1 concern is winning the fight and I think I'll be able to do that. It's an exciting matchup and the style matchup will make the fight exciting."

• Palhares has won three straight fights since dropping a unanimous decision to Dan Henderson at UFC 88 back in September 2008, but it was his most recent fight that garnered him a lot of attention. At UFC 111 in March, Palhares submitted Tomasz Drwal with a first-round heel hook and was suspended for 90 days after leaving the hold on too long for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board's tastes. Palhares said the ending of the Drwal fight doesn't mean he's a dirty fighter. "People have been saying I'm something I'm not," said Palhares through a translator. "I had no intentions of hurting anybody and I'm not like that."
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