CALGARY, July 21 – Finally, the fighter with the most spectacular unbeaten streak in the UFC has some precious hardware to stake his claim among the sport’s elite: Renan Barao now holds a share of the UFC bantamweight title after methodically picking apart top contender Urijah Faber with a steady stream of kicks, punches and stout takedown defense at the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night.
Judges scored it 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 for the Barao (31-1, 1 NC), who hasn’t tasted defeat in his past 32 fights (tops in the UFC).
The victory in the UFC 149 interim title clash means that Brazilians now hold 3.5 of the UFC’s seven title belts (Barao joins Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos and teammate Jose Aldo as belt holders). It also sets up a future meeting between Barao and current UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz, who was originally scheduled to face Urijah Faber earlier this month in Las Vegas but was sidelined after surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee.
In large part, Barao bested Faber by employing a similar strategic blueprint as Aldo, who ravaged Faber’s legs over five rounds with vicious leg kicks during their 2010 matchup.
Faber did a far better job of defending the leg kicks this time around – often switching stances throughout the bout – but he was still outworked with high kicks and combinations. Make no mistake, however, Faber was very competitive in this scrap and landed his share of punches. The former world featherweight champ never appeared to be in serious danger, but could not close the distance or secure takedowns as he would have preferred. Faber (26-6) conceded afterward that a Barao knee to the body may have broken his rib early on.
“He hurt me early with a knee to the rib,” Faber said. “I think I might have a broken rib from that knee in the second round … I knew he was really good at keeping the distance and is he is difficult to take down.”
Barao jumped into the arms of his coaches to celebrate his sixth straight win under the Zuffa umbrella and the triumph over a big name that is sure to elevate his notoriety in the sport.
“I came very well prepared for anything,” Barao said. “I prepared my strategy very well and that was the result.”
Barao Bests Faber, Takes Interim Bantam Belt - UFC 149 Main Event Results
By Frank Curreri July 21, 2012