Rousimar Palhares wanted to be on the ground, but not in this position.
Fair or not, whenever I hear the words "leg lock specialist," my thoughts immediately turn to Oleg Taktarov and the incredible potential for a broken face when things don't go as planned. I'd call it "When Leg Locks Fail" and sell it into syndication.
Nate Marquardt needed only a few minutes to dispatch Rousimar Palhares, a dangerous submission fighter with no reverse gear. After an extended feeling-out process, Marquardt found himself in a flash bit of trouble when Palhares snared his leg; Marquardt slipped out, turned and beat Palhares silly.
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In doing so, Marquardt reestablished his contender status at middleweight, though it's a long line. And against Palhares, there's little way of figuring out whether Marquardt has addressed the issues in confronting wrestling (versus Chael Sonnen) and sharp striking (versus Anderson Silva) that caused him problems in previous fights.
Palhares? He reestablished the severe danger lower-body submissions present when they're mismanaged. To his credit, he attempted it early in the fight when Marquardt should have been dry. Instead, Marquardt indicated he'd warmed up significantly for just such an occasion -- to the point that Palhares accused him of being greased up. When your strategy pays off to the point you're accused of cheating, you should take it as a compliment.
Next for Palhares: Brazilian jiu-jitsu versus Brazilian jiu-jitsu against Demian Maia.
Next for Efrain Escudero: The realization that you're supposed to lay out 20 percent of your salary for retirement, not penalties for missing weight.
Sharper focus award: The UFC, for implementing an easily understood chart of contenders in the middleweight division and including dates for pending key bouts.
Killing the dead air award: The editing truck, for taking the awkwardness out of promotional interviews by cutting out the dead air caused by conversations via the delayed signals of satellite television.
Requisite groin shots award: Escudero and Charles Oliveira, who nearly let an entire event go by without at least one blast below the belt. They gave us two.
Equal time award: Part-time politician Chael Sonnen, who needed only .001 seconds after realizing he was on live television before he started talking; Mike Goldberg, who failed to acknowledge a smiling Ben Rothwell in the crowd as a UFC athlete.