Renan “Barao” Pegado vs. Cole Escovedo: Round 1
Steve Mazzagatti is the referee for the night’s opening contest. Barao has Escovedo tied up and slammed to the canvas in the first 30 seconds. The American pushes off the Brazilian’s hips and works a butterfly guard, closing up as Barao scoots him into the cage. Escovedo uses his feet to push off the cage and Barao stands. Back on the feet, it’s Barao firing one-twos down the pipe, stalking outward as Escovedo circles the perimeter. Right low kick from Barao lands with a loud crack. Escovedo puts his back to the cage and jumps guard, tying up Barao with his lanky limbs and angling for his favorite submission, the triangle choke. Two minutes to go in the opening stanza. Escovedo throws elbows from underneath and tries to minimize the damage from Barao’s minimal top assault. The bantamweights aren’t active enough for Mazzagatti, who stands them back up. Escovedo lands a glancing head kick, then a stiff left straight that stuns Barao. The “Apache Kid” jumps guard again, looks for an armbar, and throws another bunch of elbows from the bottom as the round expires.
Round 2: Barao is coming forward again as round two begins and walks straight into a hard punch, then a follow-up knee from Escovedo. Disguising any trouble he may be in, Barao puts Escovedo on his back, but they don’t stay there long. Barao stands in center cage again and snaps off push and leg kicks. Escovedo answers with a hard kick to the body. Midway through the round, Barao grabs a waist lock and trips Escovedo down at the base of the fence. Escovedo throws horizontal elbows from his back as Barao tries unsuccessfully to pass guard. Barao not doing much from the top with 90 ticks to go and Mazzagatti tells the fighters to get busy. They’re restarted on the feet with a minute left. Barao catches a leg kick and ties up with Escovedo, who jumps guard once more. The round expires with Escovedo sweeping out from underneath.
Round 3: Escovedo landing good, straight right hands in the opening minute of the final frame, attacking the body of Barao with kicks. Barao charges with a high flying knee which can’t find Escovedo’s jaw. A big right hand seems to stun Escovedo, who is hurled to the mat in short order with a Barao double-leg. Escovedo throws up a triangle and Barao stands, dodging an upkick. Another flying knee grazes for Barao, then a spinning kick. Barao scores another takedown with 20 seconds to go and one more for good measure just before the horn.
Official scores: Judges Patricia Morse-Jarman and Roy Silbert have it 30-27, while Junichiro Kamijo has it 29-28, all in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Renan “Barao” Pegado.