Griffin weathered early and late armbar attempts by Escudero, but outside of that, he was in control for the majority of the fight.
Griffin, just 1-4 upon leaving the UFC, needed the victory and he got it. He took the center of the cage and outdid Escudero with a much sharper striking game on the feet, and maintained top position when they hit the mat, punishing Escudero with his patented ground and pound attack.
Escudero hung in the fight, constantly attacking, but he couldn’t mounted much of a threatening offense due to Griffin’s smothering style.
Griffin walked away with a unanimous decision victory, finally getting back on track after more than a year out of action.
“The game plan was really to fight my fight, push the pace more than I did, mix it up more than I did, so that’s why you see me a little bit head down,” said Griffin after the fight, a bit of a sour look on his face. “I wanted to take him down more. I wanted to impose my will more. And I really wanted to get the finish.
“I learn as much from my wins as I do from my losses and I’ve got a lot to learn from this.”
Chidi Njokuani, another UFC sibling being the brother of Anthony Njokuani, weathered a couple early first-round low blows to answer strong, punishing Phil Dace on the feet throughout their fight.
Njokuani, taking a third low blow in the second round, brutalized Dace in round two, ultimately setting up the finish early in round three. Njokuani dropped Dace with a right hand, dropped several more from standing on a downed Dace until the fight was stopped.
“It went exactly how we thought it would,” said Njokuani after the fight. “I knew it was gonna last a long time; he’s tough. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy fight and it wasn’t.”
Failing to make waves in the UFC several years ago, Marcio “Pé de Pano” Cruz continued his reformation at RFA 4 with a second-round submission victory over Joe Yager.
Cruz went 5-1 at heavyweight following his UFC exodus, but after a loss to Glover Teixeira last year, he took the necessary steps to get down to light heavyweight.
The 34-year-old still struggled on his feet, but once he got the fight to his comfort zone on the mat, Pé de Pano secured an inverted triangle choke submission for the victory in his 205-pound debut.
Former Ohio State All-American wrestler turned MMA fighter Lance Palmer on Friday night took the biggest step in his career since deciding to lace up the gloves. The Team Alpha Male fighter went the distance with a vastly more experienced Fredson Paixao, a UFC and WEC veteran and one of the top grapplers in the world.
Not only did Urijah Faber’s teammate go the distance, Palmer also recorded a split decision victory over Paixao, impressively outperforming him on the feet, deftly defending his submission attempts, and doing a good job scoring takedowns and maintaining top control on the mat.
Following a two-year stretch of that saw him go 2-4, WEC veteran and TUF alum James Krause kept his official unbeaten streak alive at five consecutive bouts with a brutal knockout of Guilherme Trindade in just 31 seconds of the first round.
Dakota Cochrane continued his rebound since failing to get into the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter Live, scoring a late first-round submission over Derrick Burnsed. Now 13-3 overall, Cochrane has won his last two bouts for RFA, including a submission of UFC vet Joe Stevenson at RFA 3.
It took Sergio Pettis all three rounds, but the younger brother of UFC lightweight contender Anthony Pettis, got the job done. A little quicker on the draw and more composed than Jimmy Jones throughout the fight, he scored a unanimous decision victory to move his record to 6-0 as a professional.
-Tyson Griffin def. Efrain Escudero by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), R3
-Chidi Njokuani def. Phil Dace by TKO (Strikes) at 0:41, R3
-Marcio Cruz def. Joe Yager by Submission (Inverted Triangle Choke) at 4:16, R2
-Lance Palmer def. Fredson Paixao by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), R3
-James Krause def. Guilherme Trindade by KO at 0:31, R1
-Dakota Cochrane def. Derrick Burnsed by Submission (Armbar) at 4:38, R1
-Sergio Pettis def. Jimmy Jones by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), R3
-Chris Holdsworth def. Tyler Shinn by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:32, R2
-Steve Mocco def. Tyler Perry by Submission (Kimura) at 1:34, R2
-Cory Galloway def. Jerry Shapiro by TKO (Punches) at 3:15, R2
-Jordan Isordia def. Joey Angelo by Unanimous Decision
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