Efrain Escudero guts out third round submission of Jeremy Larsen at Rage in the Cage 148
In the first fight in his home state in nearly four years prodigal son Efrain Escudero (15-2) returned to main event Rage in the Cage 148 at the Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, AZ. Escudero was matched with Arizona Combat Sports product Jeremy Larsen (6-2) in 165 pound catch weight bout.
The first round saw both men tentative to engage on the feet. Escudero made the first major offensive move with a single leg takedown attempt. Larsen fought off the takedown against the cage while Escudero refused to give up the position. On the mat Escudero took Larsen's back but was unable to improve his position.
In the second frame Escudero continued to pursue a grappling match. Larsen landed some nice combinations on the feet that Escudero was able to counter with the best punching exchanges of the night. A guillotine choke attempt by Escudero brought the fight to the floor. When the fight worked its way back to the feet Larsen posted Escudero against the cage in the clinch to close out the round.
With the fight still up for grabs Escudero and Larsen each took their shots to steal the fight. After escaping a rear naked choke attempt Larsen landed a hard takedown on Escudero. With Larsen on top, Escudero showcased is often underutilized jiu-jitsu game. Escudero latched on to Larsen's right arm as soon as the fight hit the floor.
Larsen attempted to wiggle out but was unable to escape. The official time of the submission in Escudero's favor came at the 3:21 mark of round three. Escudero moves to 2-0 outside of the UFC and 12-0 overall away from the Zuffa owned promotion.
"It's pretty nice fighting in Arizona, you know. You have that great fan base and all the people supporting you." Escudero said. "I love it. I love it more than going to Nebraska and fighting there."
After he posted a 3-2 record in the UFC Escudero was unceremoniously released by the promotion in September 2010. When he could ill afford a loss Escudero out grappled Larsen when he had to and avoided any damage on the feet.
Now working at the MMA Lab in Glendale, AZ the switch of gyms for Escudero has given his career a shot in the arm.
"I've been improving a lot. Everyday it's a new challenge. I train with tough guys; Yaotizin and Victor Meza, Ben Henderson." Escudero said. "We may not be the most talented team out there but we show a lot of heart. Anytime we come, we come to scrap."
With a 1-0 record to begin 2011, the 24 year old Escudero will take on ambitious fight schedule over the next 12 months in order to get back into a national MMA organization before the end of the year.
"I want to fight as many times as I possibly can." Escudero said. "It's time to go back to the UFC and show them that I'm still a big threat at 155 pound. My next fight looks like it will be March 12th in Washington State."
Only 21 years old Larsen has competed mostly in the welterweight division. Larsen had a recent tryout with the UFC's Ultimate Fighter reality show anddespite the tough loss Larsen remains one of the top Arizona based prospects to watch in 2011.
Rage in the Cage 148 results
Efrain Escudero def. Jeremy Larsen by submission armbar 3:21 R3
Jade Porter def. Ruben Gonzales by unanimous decision
Shannon Ritch def. Scott Guenther by KO 0:20 R1
Eddie Battross def. Drew Hartweck by unanimous decision
Thorvald Moen def. Matt Snow by TKO 1:33 R1
Alex Nogan def. Justin Purcell by submission RNC 2:09 R2
Alex Moore def. David Keene by TKO 2:34 R1
David Nuzzo def. Krys Ruesch-Beem by TKO 1:56 R1
Jesus Arevalo def. Jerry Friestad by split decision
Marcelo Castandeda def. Allan DeCastro TKO R1
Jocelyn Lybarger def. Diana Fowles by TKO 1:08 R1