An exciting bantamweight match-up was pegged for co-main event status at UFC 138: "Leben vs. Munoz" today (Sat., Nov. 5, 2011) in Birmingham, England, as Brad Pickett made his Octagon debut against young veteran Renan Barao.
Pickett got the home country reception the UFC was surely banking on but he had an extremely tough bout ahead of him against a man who hasn't lost in 27 fights dating back to 2005. Could "One Punch" be the streak breaker?
He could not ... at all.
That's because Barao used a huge knee and multiple follow up punches to soften up his opponent before locking in a fight ending rear-naked choke. That's four main card fights, four submissions. Might we have just witnessed the next big bantamweight contender?
The two bantamweights came out throwing bombs like they were trying to recreate Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 Finale. And while the two eventually slowed down, the crowd continued to treat it like a high profile match-up.
Chants for Pickett periodically broke out while he picked his spots.
Unfortunately for the Englishman, Barao proved as tough as his record indicates. After landing a huge knee and multiple big punches, the Brazilian locked in a submission and forced the tapout.
And guess what the submission was? That's right, another rear-naked choke.
Renan Barao may have just catapulted himself to the front of the 135-pound line with a huge victory, which marks 17 in a row for him.