It had been a very rough night of lousy main card fights, but how could this fight possibly be uninspired? Fans and viewers around the world kept their collective hopes up....
...and they were collectively dashed.
Urijah Faber looked like a destroyer of worlds whenever he faced someone and the belt wasn't on the line, but what happened last night that made him completely impotent in the Octagon?
And what happens next for both men?
Follow me after the jump for our Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber post-fight review and analysis.
There was very little activity from both men early on as they were content to size each other up. For some reason, Faber completely lacked any and all aggression.
It was difficult to try to decipher his gameplan as "The California Kid" seemed content to let Barao set the tone of the fight with leg kicks and punches. Perhaps he was trying to counter or land that one big shot, but the moment never came.
Round after round, Barao kept his distance, occasionally throwing leg kicks or body kicks and having timely aggression. Faber said in the post-fight press conference that the leg kicks took their toll and he also might have injured a rib in the middle of the fight, but this was all due to the fact that he couldn't get inside.
Faber fought this fight just like he fought the Aldo fight, by staying on the outside and not being active enough or working hard enough to get on the inside and land his punches.
When it came down to the last round, Faber needed to go for broke and he simply didn't. He barely fought any harder than he did in the first, if at all and Barao was able to coast to a unanimous decision victory while both fighters were showered with a chorus of boos from the very frustrated fans in attendance.
For Urijah Faber, this is almost certainly the end of the line. This was the fourth straight title shot he has lost and the fifth title fight in a row he has been defeated. He simply could not be the aggressor and he never quite figured out the puzzle of Barao's range. He never got inside despite how badly he needed to and he wasn't active enough, just like against Cruz the last time and just like against Aldo at 145 pounds. He has amazing cardio and he did nothing to utilize that strength.
Faber is going to get the Jon Fitch treatment now as he is one of the best bantamweights in the world, but he just can't win the title. The UFC will likely throw him against fighters who it doesn't mind sacrificing all-the-while avoiding letting him kill potential title contenders. I think the upcoming loser of the Brad Pickett vs Yves Jabouin fight would be interesting for him. As would the old school dream match-up against Miguel Torres.
For Renan Barao, he looked fantastic. He never allowed Faber to get comfortable and his striking is improving every time we've seen him. That being said, I would have liked to see him be a little bit more aggressive, but considering the fact that this was his first title fight, his first main event and his first five round fight, he performed admirably. It's not his fault that Faber couldn't get inside and strike with him to make this a more entertaining fight. This actually reminded me a lot of the recent Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Kennedy fight as one longer, younger fighters was simply too much and the smaller, older opponent failed to adapt or try to have a sense of urgency.
There are only two potential opponents for Barao now. He'll either wait forever for Dominick Cruz to heal from his knee injury, but I doubt that happens as the UFC saw the negative consequences of Carlos Condit doing it for Georges St. Pierre. The other option is a title defense against the heavy handed youngster Michael McDonald, who's coming off a career-defining victory. That bout would be extremely entertaining.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed by Barao's ability to keep Faber at a distance? Or were you disappointed that this fight didn't live up the expectations (like nearly every main card fight that night)?