Efrain Escudero will seek his third straight win against Ashe Bowman. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com


Efrain Escudero will compete in his home country for the first time since winning the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” when he takes on Ashe Bowman in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 8.

The lightweight contest is set to headline the debut event from Tijuana-based promotion XCage, “Predators,” which takes place at Fausto Gutierrez Moreno Municipal Auditorium. The card’s co-main event features UFC and WEC veteran Edgar Garcia taking on hometown favorite Edwin “El Tigre” Aguilar in a middleweight tilt.

Nicknamed “Hecho en Mexico” (“Made in Mexico”), Escudero was born in the border city of San Luis Rio Colorado in 1986. The 25-year-old has fought in Mexico only once during his professional career, defeating Tommy Wagner in February 2008 to run his record to 10-0 shortly before joining the cast of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

After winning the reality show’s lightweight tournament that December with a unanimous decision against Phillipe Nover, Escudero alternated wins and losses, besting Cole Miller and Dan Lauzon, while being submitted by Evan Dunham and Charles Oliveira. Following the loss to Oliveira in September, a bout for which Escudero failed to make weight, the MMA Lab representative was released by the UFC.

Since that time, Escudero has notched back-to-back submission wins against Jeremy Larsen and Alfredo Martinez in local Arizona promotions. He is also slated to meet fellow UFC vet Fabricio Camoes on May 6 at Tachi Palace Fights 9 in Lemoore, Calif.

Bowman, 34, has not fought since December 2009 and will look to halt a three-fight losing skid. A pupil of Ken Shamrock, Bowman’s highest-profile bout came in September 2008, when he faced then-Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson in a non-title affair at the Playboy Mansion. Bowman suffered a first-round technical knockout to “The Punk,” one of only two TKO losses on his 9-8 professional ledger. Six of Bowman’s nine victories have come by way of submission.

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