with knees. Herman gets out of the clinch and sticks a jab in Starks’ face; Starks counters with a straight right and a jab. Hard right hand from Starks comes over the top and Herman responds with another uppercut before he’s pushed into the fence again. They jockey for position and Herman scores with a nice knee on the break before going back to uppercuts. Starks feels the punches and doesn’t want to give Herman any distance, pushing the action onto the cage once more with two minutes left in the frame. Herman gets the Thai plum and puts a knee on Starks’ body, followed by an uppercut. Starks slugs Herman with a wide right, stuffs a takedown and pushes into the fence. Herman gets the takedown on second effort and goes to Starks’ half-guard in the middle of the cage. Starks’ left arm is pinned behind him and Herman gets off a few solid punches before Starks scrambles up. Now it’s Starks on top in Herman’s open guard, Herman throwing from the bottom and then momentarily switching to an armbar. Starks stifles it and that’s where the round ends.
Starks wallops Herman with a rightties up and puts Herman on the fence again, but this time Herman gets the trip and puts the fight on the floor. He’s immediately latched onto Starks’ back, looking for the rear-naked choke. Starks rolls and defends as ref Josh Rosenthal moves in for a closer look. Herman turns Starks toward the fence and sinks the choke in, eliciting the tap at 1:43 of the second round.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Renan Barao
Barao leads off with some cracking leg kicks, then sidesteps a single-leg grab. Now the leg kicks go to the outside of Jorgensen’s leg, then a stiff jab to the fence. A spinning kick to the body sends Jorgensen stumbling back into the cage and Barao rushes him. Jorgensen looks for a takedown in the tie-up, but Barao stays on his feet with great balance. Another jab goes through for Barao, a leg kick, a push kick to the chest. Jorgensen grazes over the top with a right, but he’s being kept at bay by Barao’s jab. Jorgensen comes inside to clinch, gets turned into the fence and Barao splits off. Jorgensen pumps his jab, throws an inside thigh kick of his own. Barao’s jab is looking stronger, though, as are his leg kicks. Barao is focusing on straight punches and hard kicks to the outside of Jorgensen’s left thigh. Jorgensen comes inside with an underhook and is turned into the fence again. They trade short knees inside before breaking with 40 ticks left. Barao grazes Jorgensen’s head with a spinning kick and stuffs a couple more punches in the face of “Young Guns” before the end of the frame.
Jorgensen dives for a double-leg and gets stuffed before Barao resumes his jabbing. The punches are hard and are followed by a couple walloping straight rights. Jorgensen is moving around the outside, looking to stay out of the range of Barao’s shots, to no avail: a series of jabs leads to a turning kick in Jorgensen’s gut. Jorgensen ties up and pulls guard this time, and Barao quickly moves to half-guard on Jorgensen’s left side. Jorgensen turns to isolate Barao’s right arm, finds nothing and goes to his back again, closing up guard. Barao stays heavy on top, working to pass and dropping intermittent, ineffectual punches to the body. Jorgensen posts and gets to his feet with just over 90 seconds left. He puts a left on Barao’s temple, has a high kick blocked. A right hand gets through for Jorgensen while Barao misses with a couple combinations. Jorgensen’s jumping round kick is blocked, but he finds something with a follow-up left hand. Barao is really swinging wild as the round closes, his nose bloodied up from the late punches of Jorgensen.
The punching exchanges in the early part of round three are more even, though Barao still takes the edge with a few leg kicks mixed in and a hard combo after about 60 seconds. Jorgensen connects with a straight right, but whiffs and spins himself around with the follow-up left. A punch from Barao has Jorgensen staggering, though he appeared more off-balance than hurt. Barao connects with a turning high kick and backs off as Jorgensen comes in with punches, trying to keep him at bay with a teep kick. Jorgensen lands a straight right and slips one from Barao, then dodges an overhand shot. The next leg kick from Barao is checked and Jorgensen stuffs a hand in his face before dancing out of the way of some punches. Now Barao is getting some power behind his leg kicks, landing two hard strikes which Jorgensen doesn’t check. They’re throwing hands right down to the last horn, Barao landing the last meaningful shot with a right hand.
Official result: All three judges score the bout 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Renan Barao.
Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Pierce backs Koscheck into the cage and drops for a single. Instead, he settles for an underhook, throwing knees and punches up the middle while Koscheck maintains his balance. Koscheck tries to circle out and escape, but Pierce has him pinned and now works a few foot stomps. Pierce is just leaning his weight onto Koscheck as boos begin to sprinkle down about 90 seconds in. Right on cue, the welterweights split and Pierce lands a solid punch on his way out. Thirty seconds later, they’re back to the fence, clinching and jockeying for position. Koscheck motions to ref Herb Dean that Pierce is grabbing his trunks and Dean verbally warns Pierce. They’re back to exchanging, though the punches are sparse, Pierce looking to stick his jab and Koscheck looking for big punches. They trade hard rights before settling down again, allowing Pierce to score with a pair of jabs on the outside. Pierce is getting off first with his punches, but the right hand of Koscheck is constantly cocked and ready to counter. Pierce ties up again with 20 seconds left and pushes Koscheck onto the... (Continues on next page)