Photo by Tracy Lee for Y! Sports
Escovedo came out quickly landing a leg kick. Mizugaki returned with a string of jab-crosses while coming forward. Escovedo secured the Thai clinch but couldn't land anything significant before Mizugaki backed out. While cliched against the cage, neither fighter was able to really put together any offense with the referee threatening to separate them. Mizugaki used the clinch to get the takedown with a fantastic body lock. Escovedo got back to his feet and then jumped guard and attempted to walk his legs up to a triangle choke. Mizugaki landed punches cleanly to the jaw that had little effect on Escovedo. Escovedo answered with knees and elbows from the clinch. One of the elbows staggered Mizugaki but he recovered quickly and ended the round as the aggressor.
The second round began and Mizugaki got the takedown after catching an Escovedo kick. He was reluctant to follow Cole to the ground and tried to attack while standing up. Cole stood up and started to find a home for his leg kicks. His striking defense wasn't up to snuff when dealing with a fantastic boxer in Mizugaki. Cole landed a head kick but didn't land with the shin. He went to the well one too many times and Mizugaki avoided the strikes and answered with an upper cut-hook combination to the chin. Mizugaki continued to land to the body and a right hook dropped Cole Escovedo. Cole was frustrated and clinched up. This proved to be a terrible idea with Takeya Mizugaki landing numerous shots to the head. Escovedo survived the first onslaught but the he couldn't handle the quantity and quality of the strikes. A left hook dropped Escovedo and some ground and pound forced the referee to stop the fight.
Coming into the fight, there were questions about the skill level of Mizugaki. He's always been thought of as an absolute gamer but he's never really picked up that big defining win under the Zuffa umbrella. He was 3-4 and never put together a win streak. Now 4-4 under Zuffa and 15-6-2 overall, Takeya Mizugaki finally got his defining win. Escovdeo was the first WEC featherweight champion before dropping the belt to Urijah Faber at WEC 19. Since then he's been on a bit of a roller coaster ride with his career. Whenever he takes a step up in competition he never comes away with the victory. Now 0-2 in the UFC and 17-8 overall, it is likely that tonight was the last time we'll have seen Cole Escovedo in the promotion. Check out Kid Nate's analysis of the fight over at MMA Nation.