Passing of the Guard: Why Renan Barao will defeat Urijah Faber at UFC 149Posted on July 20, 2012, 03:39 PM by Mike Drahota
As we all know, this Saturday will mark the inauguration of the very first UFC Interim Bantamweight championship as popular former WEC champ Urijah Faber will face surging Brazilian fighter Renan Barao in the main event of UFC 149. The fight from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is one full of suspense as it presents an interesting dynamic not usually seen in MMA. Faber is the one that most casual fans and even most pros I've seen interviewed would pick to win wholeheartedly, without much thought. He has tons of top-level experience stemming from his dominant run as WEC Featherweight champion, and has never backed down from a fight. Faber has proven extremely tough to finish and that he can go the distance.
However, at age 33, he is getting older and may be running out of title shots. This is something that his opponent Renan Barao does not have to worry about currently. Barao is the odds-on favorite at the betting lines, suggesting that the experts in Las Vegas know something that the fans and even fighters themselves may not know. Barao is an absolute runaway freight train of a fighter right now, riding his unbelievable 29-fight unbeaten streak to an Interim title shot against Faber in place of the injured Dominick Cruz. Since making his UFC debut, Barao has gone 3-0, with two unanimous decision victories and a Fight of the Night winning submission victory over the tough Brad “One Punch” Pickett. I think that tomorrow night will be Barao's night to shine for a few reasons.
First off, Barao does have time on his side. At only 25 years of age, his body has taken an incredibly small amount of wear-and-tear even though he had his first fight at the ripe age of 18. He lost that early 2005 bout, he has not lost since. I know that most of his detractors would say that he has not faced even close the level of competition that Urijah Faber has, and I cannot argue with that. However, if we only gave fighters who had faced top competition their whole careers a chance to win UFC titles, there wouldn't be too many emerging stars like Barao coming up in the first place.
Barao also looks to finish fast, and while this is tough to do to Urijah Faber, Barao is the man to do it. Faber has only been finished twice in his illustrious career, and neither was by submission. This fight could end up like Faber's TKO loss to Mike Brown in my eyes. Although Barao is a black-belt in BJJ, I don't see him going for the submission here. I see him pushing the pace and looking for an aggressive win, something that Dominick Cruz did not try to do in Faber's last title bout. Barao's chances look very good to me here, and this fight could truly put him on the short list of elite champions in the UFC.
Training with Jose Aldo, who beat Faber in a WEC Featherweight title fight in April of 2010 will no doubt provide him with a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from. If he chooses to utilize the Muay Thai leg kicks that hindered Faber versus Aldo, he may just take away the vaunted wrestler's takedown power. Faber is great, and looked top-notch when he destroyed Brian Bowles last November. But can he stop the onslaught of Barao? I think not, as the Brazilian “Pegado” will steamroll his way into every UFC fan's radar this Saturday night, in a passing of the guard at Bantamweight. A ton of pressure is on Barao, I see him delivering a decisive victory.
Check out Barao's take on the huge title fight this Saturday, courtesy of MMASucka.com: