After UFC Bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz was forced to withdraw from his title defense with Urijah Faber due to a knee injury, the UFC introduced an interim title for the 135lbs division and it was Brazilian, Renan Barao who would step in for Cruz and get his chance to claim UFC silverware.
Former WEC champion, Urijah ‘The California Kid’ Faber was no match for the crafty Brazilian losing a 5 round unanimous decision.
“I came very well prepared for everything,” Barao said post-fight. “I knew Faber was a great athlete and a great fighter. But I prepared myself very well, and that was the result.”
Barao’s strikes and kicks to the lead leg of Faber were telling in the result of the fight, with the Brazilian dominating the majoirty of encounters.
Faber claimed post fight that his rib was broken by a Barao knee strike during the second round.
“I knew he was good at keeping distance, and he was able to keep his kicks from pretty far out,” Faber said. “He hurt me pretty early with a knee to the rib, and I think I might have a broken rib. Aldo really took my leg apart. I felt Barao’s kicks for sure, but it wasn’t the same thing.”
The loss will be a hard one to take for ‘The California Kid’ who was looking forward to his potential next fight with his major rival, Dominick Cruz, who was Faber’s opposing coach of the recent ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ series.
The win for Barao was the Brazilian’s 28th straight, but he may be required to get past one more opponent before facing the full champion, Cruz-as the current champion is expected to be on the sidelines for at least another 9-12 months.