Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion Renan Barao was able to retain his 135-pound strap when he stopped Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC 169 (recap), which took place last Saturday night (Feb. 1, 2014) at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
But the Brazilian may have enjoyed a slight advantage on fight night.
Not only was Faber taking the bout on just a few weeks' notice, thanks to another untimely injury from Dominick Cruz, "The California Kid" was also suffering from an bum knee, as well as a partially-torn hamstring, which may have hindered his performance in "The Garden State."
His manager, Mike Roberts, explains to MMA Junkie:
"We took him in and got an MRI, and they said it was a bruised ligament in his knee, so he could barely walk. In the meantime, when he was doing mitts and running around, he tore his hamstring. (He) got an MRI, and there was a slight tear in his hamstring. Urijah's whole thing is about opportunity. You don't pass up opportunity."
The loss to Barao snapped a four-fight winning streak.
The UFC 169 headliner was not without its share of controversy, as referee Herb Dean made what UFC President Dana White referred to as a "mistake" in waving off the bantamweight affair, after Faber had been popped and dropped (highlights). Despite his thumbs up in the wake of the Brazilian's blitzkrieg, the bout was halted in the latter part of the opening frame.