For the first time in five years, Jorge Patino knows what it feels like to start a winning streak. He narrowly edged out UFC veteran Pete Spratt on the scorecards in a five-round welterweight title affair in the Legacy FC 8 main event on Saturday night in Houston, Texas. Most accounts of the fight suggested that Spratt should have took home the gold by a score of 48-47, but Patino happily raised his arms in victory as that same score was read off twice in his favor.
The fight itself was a roller coaster of back and forth action. The first two rounds were easily Spratt's, peppering Patino with shots from distance and tiring out the Brazilian to a point in which it seemed hopeless he would come back. Unexpectedly, Patino roared back in the third, catching Spratt during an adrenaline rush of activity. Spratt miraculously survived poor positions on the floor after being stunned, giving up his back and exposing his neck on multiple occasions. Patino turned the tide during the round, and it ultimately led to his victory.
Spratt calmly jabbed away at Patino in the fourth round, but he was overwhelmed once again in the fifth in the final two minutes. He gave up full mount and his back in one foul swoop. Spratt's saving grace was the toll the fight's length took on Patino. He was unable to mount any sort of meaningful offense to finish Spratt in those final moments. Spratt had done just enough to beat Patino. Unfortunately, the judges didn't think so. Patino won by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
In the marquee middleweight fight of the evening, undefeated Texan Andrew Craig kept his record unblemished as he defeated Bellator veteran Eric Schambari by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). After weathering early takedowns by the wrestling-centric Schambari, Craig took control of the fight, battering Schambari with knees in the clinch and right hands in the stand-up department. Schambari was able to recover on several occasions from dazing shots by Craig, even to a point in which he was able to go back on the offensive. Unfortunately, Craig had produced enough damage to sap Schambari's energy, making it easier for Craig to consistently regain his feet.
Schambari was stuck. His one-dimensional style hindered his ability to keep Craig guessing, and Craig eventually came forward fearlessly without any regard to the consequences of being taken down. Schambari didn't have the gas tank to continue driving for those takedowns past the ten minute mark, and Craig remained quite fresh throughout the fight. Craig landed a reversal along the fence in the final round to mount Schambari with very little time left, earning himself his sixth win and likely some interest from bigger organizations.
Steven Peterson made quick work of Steve Garcia in the lone bantamweight bout on the Legacy FC 8 main card. Peterson locked up a standing guillotine after a brief opening exchange, causing Garcia to drop to his knees and tap after a feeble attempt to escape. The 21-year-old improves to 6-1 with the win.
Jeff Rexroad improved his record to 4-1 after finishing off John Marlbrough by rear naked choke in the second round of their welterweight encounter. Rexroad came out strong in the second after producing most of his offense from his back in the first, tagging Marlbrough instantly and moving to mount. From there, it was only a matter of moments before Rexroad sunk in the choke to finish.
Larry Crowe electrified the arena in a middleweight scrap with Isaac Villanueva on the lower portion of the main card, uncorking a brutal left head kick that left Villanueva unconscious. Villanueva looked as if he was about to turn the corner to take advantage of a tiring Crowe in the second. Unfortunately, Crowe landed the kick at the perfect time. The win puts Crowe at 5-1 professionally with four consecutive victories.
In the opening bout of the evening, Houston-native Rashon Lewis shockingly took home his second career victory as he narrowly edged out 36-year-old Ricardo Talavera by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29). The scores would indicate that the bout was hotly-contested between the two welterweights, but Talavera clearly won, at the very least, two out of the three rounds decisively. Talavera not only dominated the first by threatening Lewis' back, but he was able to lock in a D'Arce choke in the second round that put Lewis mere seconds away from unconsciousness. Regardless, the judges found a way to award Lewis the victory.