by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Phillipe Nover may have been christened the 155-pound Anderson Silva by UFC president Dana White, but it was Efrain Escudero that earned the designation of The Ultimate Fighter in the 155-pound class at Saturday night’s Ultimate Fighter Finale.
Escudero used his All-American collegiate wrestling skills to great effect throughout the fight, continually ducking Nover’s striking attempts and taking the newly promoted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt down to the mat. Although Nover was aggressive from his back in searching for submissions, Escudero would control the majority of the positioning and score with his repeated ground and pound attacks.
“I knew Phillipe was a very good striker, so I knew he was going to come out with that strong right,” recounted Escudero after the fight. “So as soon as he threw it man, I shot right under it.”
Nover finally got some offense going in the third round, locking up Escudero with his rubber guard and driving elbows into his shoulder before nearly securing an omo plata. Escudero managed to stay calm in his defense, however, and never seemed in much danger of being finished.
In the end, Nover just didn’t have the answers to the strength and takedowns that Escudero inflicted on him throughout the bout. All three ringside judges awarded scores of 29-28 in favor of Escudero.
The two finalists were both on Team Nogueira during the season, but Escudero discounted the value of having such knowledge of his opponent’s game, saying that “it just made me a better fighter, just go in the gym, work harder, because he knew what I had. So I had to be superior at those levels.”
What could have been one of Escudero’s greatest edges, however, is one that he most decidedly didn’t want.
Before he left the Octagon with his Ultimate Fighter trophy in tow, Escudero revealed to the crowd, “I dedicate this to my father who passed away before I left to the show. So everybody that lost somebody special, do the best for them. What would he like from you guys?”
Winning The Ultimate Fighter and earning his way into the UFC is surely something that Efrain Escudero’s father would have liked from him.
-Efrain Escudero def. Phillipe Nover by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Ryan Bader def. Vinicius Magalhaes by TKO (Punches) at 2:18, R1
-Anthony Johnson def. Kevin Burns by KO (Kick) at :28, R3
-Wilson Gouveia def. Jason MacDonald by Submission (Verbal) at 2:18, R1
-Junie Browning def. David Kaplan by Submission (Armbar) at 1:32, R2
-Krzysztof Soszynski def. Shane Primm by Submission (Kimura) at 3:27, R2
-Eliot Marshall def. Jules Bruchez by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:27, R1
-Tom Lawlor def. Kyle Kingsbury by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Shane Nelson def. George Roop by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-Rolando Delgado def. John Polakowski by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:18, R1