The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight title was on the line when Renan Barao faced Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC 169 last night (Feb. 1, 2014) at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
To watch full fight video highlights for Barao vs. Faber right now click here.
Barao first got his hands on UFC gold by defeating Faber at UFC 149 back in July 2012. He surged into Newark with an impressive 32-fight win streak in mixed martial arts (MMA). The Nova Uniao-trained product was last seen destroying Eddie Wineland with a vicious spinning back kick at UFC 165. Barao was promoted to the official UFC bantamweight champion when another Dominick Cruz injury took the interim tag off of his belt.
Faber came into the bout like a man possessed, winning four straight bouts over top competition. His last victory was a convincing submission win over Michael “Mayday” McDonald at UFC on FOX 9. “California Kid” stepped in on very short notice to face Barao after Cruz withdrew from the title unification bout. Under the tutelage of Team Alpha Male head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Faber’s game had risen to a never-before-seen level.
Unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough as Faber dropped his sixth straight title fight after Barao battered him with his relentless kickboxing. The Brazilian champion proved he was a cut above at UFC 169.
Let’s take a look back at Barao’s masterful yet controversial performance.
The fight kicked off with Faber aggressive as he landed some strong punches. Barao kept his vaunted kicks working. Faber missed with a kick of his own and Barao attempted to swarm. Faber recovered to land a solid body-head comb, but Barao landed a huge straight right that dropped “California Kid.” He swarmed with a barrage of punches. Faber weathered the storm only to get dropped again. Then, Barao landed a massive overhand right that turtled Faber, rushing in to unleash strikes on the ground.
It looked like Barao was landing hammer fists to Faber’s glove, but referee Herb Dean stepped in to call off the fight. Faber is known for his extreme durability, but there’s no doubt he was dazed from Barao’s assault. He gave a signal to Dean that he was okay, but it was too late.
Whether or not he could have fought on will never be known, but one thing is certain: Barao is a one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, if not the best.
His striking looked a cut above even that of Faber, who has been at the absolute top of his game. We haven’t heard an exact timetable for Cruz’s return, but he’s undoubtedly the biggest name available for Barao right now. The division also has a few solid contenders like Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw, but right now, Barao may be the hottest mixed martial artist in the game today.
He could be in for a very long and illustrious title run.
Faber admitted he thought it was a debatable stoppage but he also accepted the loss, stating he would simply work his way back up the ladder. At his age, with six straight title losses, his time as a legitimate title contender may have passed him by.
He can destroy most of the top 135-pound fighters in the world, so he probably has several exciting fights left in the tank.
“California Kid” just can’t hang with Barao. It appears that no one can right now. Controversial or not, he was dominating Faber in a short amount of time. The sky is the limit for the dangerous bantamweight king.
Renan Barao continued to prove he’s one of the finest fighters on the planet with a first round stoppage of the notoriously tough Urijah Faber. Can anyone contend with the surging “Baron”?