UFC 169: Barao vs. FaberSaturday, February 1 – 11:30 p.m. ET
Renan Barao (33-1) vs. Urijah Faber (30-6)Bantamweight title bout
Line: Barao -295, Faber +235
Urijah Faber gets his rematch against Renan Barao as the bantamweight title will be on the line at UFC 169 in Newark, NJ.
In the last matchup between these two fighters on July 21, 2012, Barao won in a five-round unanimous decision. While Faber was able to take the fight the distance, he was never in a great position to win the fight with his opponent holding the 85-60 striking advantage. Barao was in complete control of that match, but will be facing a different Faber on Saturday. Faber was outstanding in 2013, going 4-0, including an impressive victory over Michael McDonald on Dec. 14. He was able to submit McDonald in the second round with a Guillotine choke, and will be coming into this match with his confidence at an extreme high. All Barao has done is go unbeaten his past 33 fights (32 wins, 1 no-contest) spanning more than eight years. He is one of the most versatile fighters in UFC and has won his 21 straight fights in many different ways. In his last victory on Sept. 21, he delivered an electric spinning back kick and punches to defeat Eddie Wineland. Barao is so good at establishing the pace of the fight early, and not allowing his opponent to get in any kind of rhythm. Despite being just the first day of February, this has the makings of a potential Fight of the Year type matchup. In the end, BARAO will do just enough to get the victory.
Barao is a complete fighter, as he has the ability to win in many different ways. He has 14 victories by submission, with 12 wins by decision and seven knockouts. Barao is an elite striker where his quickness creates a lot of problems for his opponents. He lands 3.66 strikes per minute, a big advantage over Faber who connects on 2.71 strikes per minute. While he is an explosive athlete, what makes "The Baron" even more difficult is that his cardio very well may be the best in the sport. The 26-year-old Brazilian is able to be aggressive the entire fight, and does not have to worry about becoming tired. He does a great job of keeping the fight on his feet too, as he has a takedown defense of 95%, which is well ahead of Faber's 36% takedown defense. Barao has everything that makes him an incredible champion. However, he is going up against a fighter in Faber that understands this may be his last opportunity for a champion fight.
The 34-year-old Faber throughout his career has become a fan favorite because of his intense fighting style. He is 7-2 in his career as a bantamweight, and has 15 career victories by submission, with nine by knockout and six decision victories. During his four-fight win streak in 2013, Faber had three submission wins over Ivan Menjivar, Iuri Alcantara and Michael McDonald. While Faber does not land as many strikes as Barao, he is more accurate when throwing his punches (43% for Faber, 36% for Barao). In the last matchup with Barao, Faber was unable to get things going, and instead was forced to fight on the defensive for much of the match. With that in mind, look for him to really come out early and try to bring the fight to Barao, who is the same height (5-foot-6) and weight (135 pounds) as "The California Kid."