Brazilian bantamweight phenom, Renan Barao, was in need of a new opponent for UFC 130, after his original match-up with Demetrious Johnson was scrapped when Johnson stepped in to face Miguel Torres on the same card. Now Barao will face the WEC's first-ever featherweight champion, and a man who's tried very hard to get the attention of the UFC in recent months: Cole Escovedo. The UFC announced the bout today:
WEC veteran Cole Escovedo, the organization's first featherweight champ, will make his UFC debut at bantamweight against top Brazilian prospect Renan Barao at UFC 130, as the two have verbally agreed to the matchup.
Escovedo spoke to BloodyElbow.com's own Matt Bishop, earlier this month, about the disappointment of trying out for the current season of the The Ultimate Fighter, but not getting a call back:
"I haven't heard anything back from them," Escovedo said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "I've been trying to build an upswell and a following, trying to market myself and get some attention out there so they don't pass up my application. I kinda figured I would've gotten a phone call back by now to go to Vegas for the medicals and follow-up interviews. I'm just starting to hear that other fighters are going. I even heard a guy I just beat in January is going. I'm starting to get frustrated. I'm trying to cause an uproar to get some attention my way."
It looks like the "Apache Kid" will now get his chance to cause an uproar, but he faces a very stiff challenge in Barao on May 28th. Although given the challenges Escovedo has faced during his MMA career, including a staph infection that left him partially paralyzed and nearly forced his retirement, it's doubtful he'll be intimidated.
Cole "Apache Kid" Escovedo (16-7)
Win Stephen Siler (submission - triangle) - Showdown Fights New Blood
Loss Michihiro Omigawa (submission - straight armbar) - DREAM 16
Loss Michael McDonald (KO - punches) - TPF 5
Renan "Barao" do Nascimento Mota Pegado (25-1)
Win Chris Cariaso (submission - RNC) - WEC 53
Win Anthony Leone (submission - armbar) - WEC 49
Win Sergio Silva Rodrigues (unanimous decision) - Jungle Fight 17