Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
What happens when the bantamweight "Baron" flies into Birmingham? If you're Brad Pickett at UFC 138, bad things. Very bad things.
Throughout the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a lot of fighters have won "Fight of the Night" for putting together a dazzling display of fireworks inside the Octagon.
Not a lot of fighters have been able to do it in just four minutes.
That's all Renan Mota do Nascimento Pegado -- known by the mercifully shorter Renan "Barao" -- needed when he went to war against Brad Pickett in hostile territory as part of the UFC 138: "Munoz vs. Leben" event across the pond, emanating from the LG Arena in Birmingham, England, on Nov. 5, 2011.
It was his coming out party.
Sure, the crafty Brazilian had already notched his first win since graduating from World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) in May of that year, but a unanimous decision victory over Cole Escovedo was hardly the springboard to launch him into bigger and better opportunities at 135 pounds.
Even with a ridiculous 26-fight winning streak.
That would all change against Pickett, whose "One Punch" knockout power -- coupled with his crafty submissions -- helped him carve out a blistering 10-1 run with seven stoppages. Not surprisingly, the battle-tested Brit had his own agenda heading into his UFC debut in the West Midlands.
Here's how it all went down.
A touch of gloves to get the action started and Pegado opens with an inside leg kick. Pickett lets his right hand fly in retaliation but misses by a mile. The Brazilian quickly follows up with a kick to the body and gets rushed by the Brit's wild fists of fury.
"Barao" is willing to engage and stuns Pickett with a hard counter-punch that lands right on the kisser.
Pickett regains his footing and tries to back Pegado into the cage and once again uncorks a wild combination that is light on accuracy but heavy on power. "Barao" avoids any serious damage and sends a few down the pipe to get himself out of the red zone.
Pickett retreats and gets away from his opponent's spinning back kick.
The arena reverberates a SLAP as the foot of Pegado finds the thigh of Pickett. "One Punch" tries to end it with just that and both fighters plant their feet and throw with bad intentions. This time, it's "Barao" who finds himself slightly worse for the wear.
"Neither man wasting any time getting this one started," comments UFC play-by-play man Mike Goldberg.
Pegado telegraphs a flying knee and Pickett scoots out of danger. They once again meet up in the center of the cage and go punch-for-punch, but nothing significant lands. The Birmingham crowd erupts in chants of "PICKETT! PICKETT! PICKETT!" and roar when he lands a left jab followed by a right cross.
"Barao" once again unleashes a spinning back kick.
While he doesn't connect, he's able to create space and get himself away from the fence. He shoots for the takedown but gets stuffed and just misses eating a huge overhand right on his way back to his feet. The crowd continues to show its favoritism but is quickly silenced by a stiff 1-2 combination from the tenacious interloper.
Pickett stalking and looking to make hay while the sun shines, but the Brazilian is picking him apart. A push kick keeps the separation, then a hard jab and inside leg kick rest their case. "The crowds here in the U.K. are awesome," acknowledges Goldberg, who can barely be heard over a crooning chorus of pro-Pickett supporters.
While he's busy with his hands, Pickett just can't find the distance, so Pegado finds it for him, cracking him with an incoming knee and putting "One Punch" on queer street. A right hook follows it up and sends him crashing to the canvas where "Barao" pounces and fires off some ground and pound until Pickett gives up his back.
Seconds later, he taps to a rear naked choke.
"Renan Barao is a monster," warns UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, though I doubt Michael McDonald will be intimidated when they duke it out for the Interim bantamweight championship this Saturday afternoon (Feb. 16, 2013) in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 7 at the Wembley Arena in London.
That's just an hour or so by train from the last time "Barao" did work across the pond.
For a closer look at "Mayday" and his mark in the UFC history books click here.