The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 88 featured former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao making his 145-pound debut against featherweight slugger Jeremy Stephens.
Round one begins and Barao opens up with an inside leg kick. Jeremy fires back with one of his own and another. More leg kicks from Stephens. Front kick and then a right hand lands for Renan. Another nice combination from Barao. Stephens responds with a combo. Good counter right hand from Barao. Stephens with a kick to the body. Barao returns fire with a leg kick. Good left hook from Jeremy. Barao with a nice jab he shoots in for a takedown. Jeremy defends but is pressed up against the cage. Knees from Barao. They break. Barao switches to southpaw and lands a left hand. Stephens with a flurry and gets inside. He presses Barao against the fence. Nice elbows and knees inside from Renan. The break and trade some furious shots. Stephens with a jab. Barao with a left hand. Stephens is swinging wildly. Barao shoots in and presses him up against the fence. That is how round one will end.
Round two begins and Barao starts things off with an inside leg kick. Stephens with a right. Barao shoots in but Jeremy shakes him off. Front kick just misses for Barao. Stephens is throwing bombs but missing. Barao with a left hand. Stephens lands a couple of shots. Huge uppercut from Stephens. He lands another one. Barao is hurting and back peddling. He fires back with a right hand. Barao shoots in for a takedown but Stephens fends it off. Jeremy presses Barao against the cage and lands a knee. The fighters break. Jeremy with a stiff jab. Barao with a spinning back kick that is partially blocked. Barao switches stances. He looks tired. He lands a left hook but Stephens lands a big straight right hand. Jeremy with a big left hand. Barao takes it. Renan shoots in and finally lands a takedown. Jeremy is right back up however and turns Barao around and presses him against the cage. A front kick from Barao closes out round two.
Round three begins and Stephens misses with a leg kick to start. Renan fires a leg kick that lands. Stephens with a jab and then a shot to the body. Barao with a counter left hand and then a leg kick. Nice combination from Renan. Stephens with a big body shot. Barao shoots in for a takedown. It’s not there. Stephens turns him against the fence and lands a knee. Barao breaks free and lands a couple of shots inside. Nice uppercut from Jeremy. Barao with a left hand. Nice leg kick from Stephens. Barao shoots in and lands a takedown. He is looking to take the back of Stephens. Jeremy scrambles and breaks free. He presses Barao against the fence. One minute to go. Herb Dean wants them to work. They break. Stephens with an uppercut. He lands a big jab and misses with a haymaker. He lands a huge right, Barao looks rocked. Both men are trading furious shots. The horn sounds. what a fight!