DREAM veteran Cole Escovedo improved to 17-6 on Jan. 28 with a first round submission win over Steven Siler (18-9) at the Showdown Fights: New Blood main event in Orem, Utah. Siler had won 13 or his last 14 bouts, and Escovedo is hoping the victory has him within striking distance of breaking into the UFC bantamweight division.
Speaking with ProMMAnow.com, Escovedo discussed how the match unfolded and he set up the fight-ending triangle choke.
“I actually planned on [striking] with him to give the fans a good show since I knew he wouldn’t mind trading,” Escovedo said. “But I just couldn’t get my game going. We clinched and he got a takedown; I set up a bow-and-arrow sweep and tried to follow up, but he jumped right back up so I shot for the double and got it back down.
“He let me get wrist control and I scare-crowed out his left arm and that was that. I locked it in and tried to take the arm but he rolled over letting me get his arm all the way across and tightening the choke until he went out. Tough kid that wouldn’t tap … super heart.”
Most of Siler’s wins have come via submission. But Escovedo is an accomplished Jiu Jitsu artist in his own right and had eight previous triangle submission wins before the bout.
“His subs were from either guillotine or triangle, which are great but to me said that people were getting out struck by his reach and taking desperation shots and getting caught by his long limbs,” Escovedo said. “I never worried that it was from awesome ground set-ups. That doesn’t mean I’m right, but that’s just how I viewed it, so I felt safe if it went to the ground.”
Both fighters carried an impressive resume into the fight. Escovedo holds wins over WEC veterans Michael McDonald, Yoshihiro Maeda, and Jeff Bedard. As for Siler, he’d defeated Bellator competitor Nick Mamalis and Xtreme Couture team member Dennis Davis and hoped to use the bout with Escovedo to boost his own credentials and perhaps earn a spot in the big show.
“He was the hometown guy, and from what I was told, he felt I was his ticket into the UFC, so the pressure was more on him. I felt this W would definitely get me some attention and back on the winning side, but didn’t feel it would get me back in the UFC.”
Escovedo added, “I felt I was there after the Maeda win, but after this win I’m hoping one more good W should get me back in where I belong.”
Japanese MMA struggling
While the UFC has continued to prosper, major Japanese MMA promotions haven’t had an easy time of late. Sengoku recently postponed a show following a negative media report and DREAM has continually had trouble paying its fighters on time.
Having been involved in the sport for several years and competed in DREAM, Escovedo gave his thoughts on the thrill of fighting in Japan, which embraced MMA long before the U.S.
“I feel it will be unfortunate [if] DREAM goes, but the void will be filled when UFC returns to Japan. This won’t fill it on a regular basis though, but it will at least help keep MMA in Japan somewhat alive. But with luck, an investor steps forward and helps keep DREAM alive. I greatly enjoyed fighting for them and hope to return to Japan.”