Efrain Escudero. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“Ultimate Fighter 8” lightweight winner Efrain Escudero kept his perfect record intact on Saturday night, scoring a devastating first-round stoppage of fellow “TUF” alumnus and skilled grappler Cole Miller during the preliminary portion of UFC 103.
Both Escudero and Miller opted to spend the first couple minutes of their Spike TV-televised attraction feeling each other out on the feet. Miller used a substantial reach advantage to land a number of jabs and stiff right hands while Escudero timed some of Miller’s leg kicks and put Miller on the mat on two separate occasions.
The action picked up after Miller missed with a head kick, allowing Escudero to pick Miller up and slam him hard to the canvas. Miller was quick to get back up to his feet but ate two consecutive right hands seconds after. The second shot sent Miller falling to the mat. Escudero pounced on him and delivered some more punches that knocked Miller unconscious.
With the win, Escudero improves to a perfect 11-0 while Miller, a member of Florida-based American Top Team snapped a two-fight win streak with the loss and falls to 15-4.
Tomasz Drwal also made a successful middleweight debut on one of the Spike TV-televised preliminary bouts, scoring a second-round submission of Miletich Fighting Systems product Drew McFedries.
A fast-paced first round saw both Drwal (17-2-1) and McFedries (8-6) content to stand and bang. McFedries was the busier striker early, but began to telegraph his punches, allowing Drwal to come back with combinations of his own. Drwal worked diligently for a takedown throughout the round and was able to put McFedries in trouble on the ground during the end of the round, mounting and pounding him for a little less than a minute.
Drwal played the role of aggressor at the start of the second round, quickly hunting McFedries down with a series of punches. After taking the fight to the ground once again, Drwal took little time to mount McFedries and once the Iowa native gave up his back, Drwal immediately sank in a rear-naked choke, forcing McFedries to tap and potentially secure his release from the UFC with his third loss in four fights.
Jim Miller (15-2) earned yet another win in the UFC’s lightweight division, defeating UFC newcomer Steve Lopez (12-2) after Lopez injured his shoulder in the second round and was unable to continue. In addition, Ricky Story (8-3) earned his first UFC win against another rookie in Brian Foster (12-4), submitting him with an arm-triangle choke just over a minute into the second round.
The remainder of the prelims all went the distance. Nik Lentz (17-3-1) earned a three-round unanimous decision over Affliction transfer Rafaello Oliveira (9-2) while “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Eliot Marshall (8-1) edged out Jason Brilz (17-2-1) via split decision.
Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4) made a successful return to the Octagon, grinding out a decision over Igor Pokrajac (21-6), a training partner of Mirko Cro Cop. Rafael Dos Anjos (12-4) earned his first UFC win in defeating Rob Emerson (9-8) in the first bout of the night.
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