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UFC 169: Barao vs Faber 2


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Few weeks away now.





Renan Barao vs Urijah Faber - UFC Bantamweight Title

Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas - UFC Featherweight Title

Alistair Overeem vs Frank Mir

John Lineker vs Ali Bagautinov

Jamie Varner vs Abel Trujillo



John Makdessi vs Alan Patrick

Chris Cariaso vs Kyoji Horiguchi

Tom Watson vs Nick Catone

Al Iaquinta vs Kevin Lee



Clint Hester vs Andy Enz

Rashid Magomedov vs Tony Martin

Neil Magny vs Gasan Umalatov


We were supposed to get this;



Cruz vs Barao had been such a long time coming.


Cruz last fought in October 2011. To put that in perspective, the card was a Versus Fight Night (remember them?) and he successfully defended his Bantamweight title against Demetrious Johnson that night. The same Demetrious Johnson who has gone on to drop to Flyweight, fight both Uncle Creepy and Joseph Benavidez twice a piece, beat the two Johns - Dodson and Moraga - and establish himself as the man at 125lbs, becoming the first ever UFC Flyweight champion. He's done all that in the time Cruz has been laid up.


Barao hasn't been idle himself in that time frame either. When Cruz fought Johnson in October 2011, Barao was nothing more than a talented prospect. He had an almost perfect record but much of his opposition were unknowns. From November 2011 though, the month after Cruz's last fight - Barao started on a rampage over the top fighters at 135, that's still going strong now. In Cruz's absence, Barao has been the top dog at 135 clearly, beating the likes of Brad Pickett, Scott Jorgensen, Eddie Wineland - and his two most impressive wins - a dominant five round beating of Urijah Faber, and a 4th round submission over the highly rated Michael McDonald.


Meanwhile, Cruz's career went to shit. And at the absolute worst possible time. Not only was he in his peak form as a fighter, his prime, he was also on the cusp of making the biggest money of his career. He was coming off a series of TUF, coaching opposite his arch nemesis Urijah Faber. They were 1-1 and were supposed to settle the score in July 2012, as co-main event at UFC 148. A PPV headlined by the huge Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen rematch. And Cruz was going to get a cut of the PPV money.


Dana White on Cruz 'losing his lottery ticket'

"He was supposed to get a piece of pay-per-view on the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch. I'm not kidding you, that's a fucking lottery ticket. He might never have the opportunity to make that kind of money again.


It's like jumping up and going, 'Holy shit, I fucking won!', and then, 'Where did my ticket go? I lost my fucking ticket?' And then there's no proof he had the ticket. That's literally what it's like. I felt so bad for this kid."


So he lost out on a life changing payday and had to sit on the sidelines while Barao hijacked his division. Now Cruz is out again, this time with a groin injury. Will the man's luck ever change?


Unlike most interim champions though, who win the interim belt and never end up having to defend it, Barao has defended it twice. It feels like he's the legitimate worthy champion of the division. He's on a 30-odd fight unbeaten streak, has dominated the weight class in Cruz's two year absence and it's hard not to see him as the official champion now, even without having taken it from Cruz.


So we now have Barao vs Faber 2. Kind of feels like Deja Vu. When Cruz got hurt and Cruz vs Faber 3 fell apart, Faber vs Barao 1 was booked to crown an interim champion. Now Cruz is out again, and here we are again with the same two fighters. This time for the proper title.


The first Barao vs Faber fight took place at UFC 149 in Canada in July 2012. It turned out to be one of the most injury plagued cards in UFC history. Fights like Big Nog vs Cheick Kongo, Shogun vs Thiago Silva and Sexyama vs Thiago Alves were all originally scheduled. All fell through due to injuries. Then the card that did happen went down like a wet fart at a funeral when three fights in a row (Lombard vs Boetsch, Kongo vs Jordan and Ebersole vs Head) were absolute dog turds. And Barao vs Faber had to follow this. It wasn't a bad fight at all but following that shower of shite, the crowd wasn't happy. It would have taken a Hunt vs Bigfoot type fight to swing the tide that night. It was a good fight, albeit one sided. Faber tried, but Barao just picked Faber apart for 25 minutes.




It didn't help that Faber suffered a rib injury early on and maybe a hand injury if I'm remembering right. And add to that they were both taking the fight on fairly short notice. Faber was training for a Cruz rubber match for months then got blindsided on the TUF set when Dana brought Barao in. Barao was previously preparing for Ivan Menjivar.


Since then Faber has had an incredible 2013. One of, if not the the best spell of his career. Rattling off four wins over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, Yuri Alcantara and Michael McDonald. Three of which he finished by submission. He's never looked better. So you'd think this will be a better fight this time now they're both on top form.




Co-main event is another title fight. Aldo vs Lamas is also a fight that's been seemingly on the horizon for ages but kept getting delayed. Aldo has dominated the 145lbs scene for three years now. Ever since ending Mike Brown's title reign in the WEC days. He's gone on to beat the likes of Faber, Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes and Korean Zombie, among others. And he's the unbeaten, first ever UFC Featherweight champ. The biggest challenge Aldo seems to have faced in recent years has been the weight cut to 145. He's complained about it plenty the last couple of years and has talked about moving up to Lightweight a few times. Nova Uniao head Andre Pederneiras hasn't been keen though and has been vocal that he wants Aldo to remain at 145 for the time being.


Lamas has strung together some highly impressive wins to earn his shot. Beating Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. Both of which were expected to beat Lamas and go on to challenge Aldo themselves. His win over Koch was especially brutal and that's the one that really solidified him.




It's an interesting fight. Lamas is always game, he's got the skills to test Aldo I think. But I see Aldo being too much for

him to be honest.


Overeem vs Mir would usually feel like a loser leaves town fight, Overeem is coming off two losses, Mir is coming off three. But in a division that's not massively deep, and with their name value, I wouldn't be shocked if the loser of this sticks around.




Despite their recent losses, it still has the feeling of a big fight to me. I can't see it going past a round either. And with both guys' history of gassing after three minutes, let's hope it's short and sweet. I just don't see Mir surviving Overeem's initial onslaught but we'll see what happens.


Lineker vs Bagautinov might well steal the show. Lineker is probably the most exciting Flyweight in the UFC. Fast as fuck with big KO power for a 125er. He's consistently exciting. But it's a shame he's also a consistent weight misser. That's really held him back. I think he's missed weight more than he's made it. He's reportedly working with Mike Dolce now and from what I've read it's going well, so hopefully his missing weight days are behind him. Bagautinov looked very good in beating Tim Elliott in November. Elliott's refusal to engage at times made the fight frustrating but we saw enough of Bagautinov to suggest he's capable of some fun fights in there. And I think him and Lineker match up perfectly for a great one.


Varner vs Trujillo should kick the PPV off with a bang. Varner's stepping in on short notice for this. It was originally Trujillo vs Bobby Green, but Green pulled out because he's been - quote: "shitting blood". Not good. So Varner's jumped in. Varner is always ready. Most will remember him stepping in on late notice in May 2012, where he shocked the highly touted Edson Barboza with a first round KO. Trujillo looked like a monster in his rematch with Roger Bowling recently as well. He looks very promising. Should be a lively PPV opener.


Prelims look decent enough. Makdessi and Watson can be fun to watch. Team Serra-Longo's Al Iaquinta has had some entertaining prelim fights recently. Clint Hester looked good on the Jones-Sonnen TUF and scored an amazing standing elbow KO in his UFC debut. I like him.


Some new blood there. Couple of new Russians. Magomedov is 15-1 and his only loss is a split decision to Bellator's Frodo Khasbulaev, so not too shabby. Umalatov is 14-2-1 with mostly submission wins.


Andy 'Tank Mode' Enz is listed as 7-0 on Sherdog's fighter database, and 10-1 on the Underground site, so fuck knows. Hasn't fought anyone that good but at 22 years old he's off to a good start.


Tony Martin actually isn't the old farmer who shot a burglar to death in Norfolk years ago. He's not making the jump to the UFC, believe it or not. This is MMA fighter Tony Martin. 8-0, trains with Brock Larson, beat the once massively overhyped TUF 8 finalist Philippe Nover.




Not him.





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I was doing some of my picks on Playground the other day, and noticed how insanely stacked this card is. The top 4 fights interest me on some level, given the names involved.


Faber has looked better recently than he has ever done, or at least since 2007-2008 time when he was a P4P kingpin. Whether he has been flattered by fighting a league below Cruz and Barao is something we will find here, I think he has improved with his striking the past year or so, whilst his wrestling and grappling skills have always been quality. I like Barao, but Faber is on such a run, there is enough here to spark my interest.


Lamas has also looked top-draw as of late, and Aldo is far from invincible, there are gaps to his game, potential blueprints if you like. Aldo is a fighter I could see being beaten in his weightclass, which I would have not said about Anderson or GSP at various stages in previous years. I like Aldo, as he is still a P4P fixture due to his high skill-set, but Lamas is a live dog, so to speak.


Reem vs Mir is a fight people are thinking will not last long, but despite Mir seemingly being a tad flakey at times, he can be a spoiler as he proved with D.C. The difference is, if he can survive early, he might be able to catch Overeem at some point. I like Reem to plow through Mir though, as I doubt that Mir will survive flurries like the one Reem gave Travis Browne (who is a much better striker than Mir), and I also anticipate that Reem will have more damaging weapons than Barnett striking wise. I like Reem to win, but again I think it is more contestable than some think.


Plus, John Lineker is on the card!


Looking forward to this one.


Edit: The Tony Martin thing made me laugh more than it should have, nice work.

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With Aldo I really think it's the weight cut more than anything that's kind of almost making him stagnate now. I really think Andre Pederneiras is playing a risky game by keep delaying him going up to 155. The longer they hold off on it the more likely he is to lose a fight he should win I reckon.


You look back at his WEC fights. He was so explosive and fast and full of energy. He was just killing fuckers left and right. I know there's a case that the division has improved so he's not breezing through guys as easy now and there's validity to that. But you compare the way Aldo fought Mike Brown or Manny Gamburyan, even Faber although he didn't finish him. Then look at how he fought against Jung. He seems to fight in bursts now. Like he's not sure how hard he can push for fear of gassing.


I love Zombie but skill-wise Aldo should have had an easier night with him. He was winning but he didn't look that good and he was visibly slowing down as the fight wore on. I think he was actually fortunate there that Jung's shoulder fucked up when it did because Aldo looked knackered to me prior to that.


Even the Edgar fight, and I've made no secret I'm a big fan of Frankie. I truly believe if they'd had that fight, that same night, but at 155, Aldo would've finished him. Or at least won more comfortably. I actually had Edgar shading that decision narrowly. It seems hit and miss with Aldo, depending on his cut. I really think he's way better than he's shown in his last few fights. I think the weight cut has got more difficult as he's got older. He's tried to lean out the last year to make the cut a bit easier on him. He's complained about the cut a few times and after seemingly every fight, he's dropping hints about going to lightweight. But Pederneiras wants him at 145 for whatever reason.


Barao has said before as well, that he's only at 135 because Aldo is at 145 and they're friends. Barao doesn't like cutting to 135 either. If Aldo goes to lightweight, I think we'll then see Barao go to featherweight. Nova Uniao is a great camp but they've had a history of having guys make big weight cuts and I don't think it's a good idea long term. You'll notice a few the Nova guys seem to fade late in fights. Aldo, Barao sometimes, Ronny Markes, Diego Nunes when he was there. And there was that Nova fighter who died recently as a result of the weight cut.


I'd really like to see Aldo at 155. And soon. He might be wasting his prime years in the wrong division, and leaving his energy in the sauna. Back in 2008-2010 he looked sharp and energetic at 145. But around 2011 is when he seemed to start struggling a bit with the cut and it's escalated a bit each year since IMO.


I honestly think the time is right for him to go to 155. And I think those extra 10lbs would give him that bit extra in the later rounds when he needs the energy most. He'd probably be quicker and stronger for not having drained himself so much as well and I think he beats pretty much everyone except Pettis. And that's still not a fight I'd write him off in at all. I'd be about 60/40 in favour of Pettis for that.

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Good point, the weight cut/age variable does suggest a simple cause and effect. I hope Aldo wins now, and goes to 155lbs, as a Pettis fan I would not like Pettis to face a fighter that might be seen as "Lamas's left overs" so to speak.


Barao at 145lbs is a scary prospect, it could really piss on Mendes's chips, he gets rid of one Brazilian dynamo if Aldo moves up, and has to encounter another in the process. 155lb is a more established and fruitful class for Aldo, so I agree he should move up soon, I am going to guess Barao might wait for Cruz, even if he does get past Faber and Aldo moves up.


Anyone know how long a grade 2 or 3 groin tear will keep Cruz out for?

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Yeah I have my doubts Pederneiras has his fighters best interests in mind as far as health goes, he seems more interested in the success than healthy weight cutting.


Seems like a nutter as well, he was the one that organised that much criticised Man vs. Woman MMA fight in Brazil a few weeks back. Then cancelled it due to backlash and used the cheap cop out that it was a publicity stunt all the long in aid of a domestic violence cause.

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Seems like a nutter as well, he was the one that organised that much criticised Man vs. Woman MMA fight in Brazil a few weeks back. Then cancelled it due to backlash and used the cheap cop out that it was a publicity stunt all the long in aid of a domestic violence cause.

That was him?


Fucking hell, I thought that was some low-rent cowboy in Brazil. Even long-term Sherdog radio men were baffled by how stupid that was.

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Yeah that was barmy. I thought it was a joke until I read more.


Pettis vs Aldo must happen. It's a dream fight that actually seems realistic as well. Well, it was fucking booked, wasn't it! With fights like Anderson vs GSP and Jones vs Anderson, you hope they somehow happen but you don't really believe it. Pettis vs Aldo got announced. There were posters, and tickets, and a date was set and everything.




It has to happen. 145, 155, whatever. But if I had it my way it'd be at 155. That's where I think we'd see the best fight. They'd both come in fully energised.


Aldo wants the fight at 155 as well, according to this quote from October;

"I want it at lightweight. That's where his belt resides, so I can steal it. It would be better for me since I already have a belt of my own. My belt is already up on the wall at my home."



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In terms of overall skill, I think Barao bests Faber every time. Faber has looked awesome lately, but he was also in great form the first time he met Barao. I'd love to see Faber get it done, but Barao just has too many weapons. The best hope he has is a flash KO really.


Aldo vs. Lamas has kind of flown under the radar, I actually forgot it was happening until I saw this thread. Lamas is very scrappy and has really done his best work lately, but I don't want to see Aldo suffer any setbacks before we get the Pettis fight to happen.


Mir vs. Overeem is a funny one in terms of who I want to win. Reem is an arrogant, mentally flaky, Keith-Kizer dodging, horse meat eating, testosterone abusing jackass, but Mir is Frank Mir. I'll pick Reem by knees of doom inside the first 3 minutes.


Lineker just needs to make weight, the rest will take care of itself.


Might expand on this later, watching Raw :D

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I've shifted this line of discussion into this thread.


In regards to Faber/Barao, I'm hoping that we will see killer Faber this time around really going for it. He was far too passive in his last fight with Barao.

He had a busted rib from the 1st round onwards last time, didn't he? Saying that, I don't see the outcome being much different.

I never heard that David, but you maybe right? I'm not sure about the outcome being a foregone conclusion though in the rematch. Whilst Faber's opponents haven't been that high of calibre, the way he handled Michael Mcdonald was incredible. Looking at Barao's comparable performance Faber was a lot more impressive.


Now I know it's not as simple as looking at those type of performances as certain styles match up better than others, but current form Faber for me is a completely different beast from the Faber of 2012.

I've just looked it up, and according to MMA Junkie;


When the two fought in July 2012 in Calgary, Barao took a sweep on one scorecard and a pair of 49-46 tallies from the judges. That fight was set up as an interim title bout when Cruz suffered his first knee injury and was forced out of a trilogy fight against Faber, arguably his biggest rival. Faber suffered a broken rib in the first round of that fight.

As for the way the fight will go, I agree 100% that Faber is not the same guy he was in 2012, but I just don't think he's on the same level as Barao. I don't think Barao stops him, but I can't see past another decision win for the champion.

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Cheers for that David.


I mentioned in the other thread in response to Jim, what will Faber do this time around to counter Barao's style? Throw more caution to the wind?


On another note, I feel a little sorry for Barao. The guy gets little to no fanfare when considered in the current greats. The guy is a beast and hasn't been beaten since his first fight in 2005. Not getting that fight against Cruz is such a shame for Barao, but hopefully we will see the two fight somewhere down the line if and when Cruz gets a few fights under his belt.

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Cheers for that David.


I mentioned in the other thread in response to Jim, what will Faber do this time around to counter Barao's style? Throw more caution to the wind?



I was thinking if Faber has a bit more success on the feet, it could allow him to mix up takedowns a bit more. Barao pretty much did what he wanted last time out, the more success Faber has standing. the more chance he has of catching Barao off gurad with a takedown. I still think Barao has too many weapons with his striking for Faber to get much going, but again I would have said that about McDonald based on how McDonald performed against Pickett and Barao, but Faber bossed that fight.


But yeah, if Faber has more confidence with his hands, he could throw caution to the wind more and make things interesting. I still like Barao to win, but Faber has done enough in the past 18 months to make it a interesting fight on paper.

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I love the look of this card - Renan Barao and Jose Aldo Jr are two of my favourites, Mir vs Overeeem should have a certain car crash quality to it and the Lineker fight looks great on paper...hopefully he can make the cut this time.


No way is Barao losing his belt to the drummer from Hanson!

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really great looking card, more excited for Faber/Barao II than i woulda been Cruz/Barao. Faber's on such a tear now, he now seems to be the real Urijah Faber at 135lb now, the same version that ripped through the WEC 145lb division. It's gonna be exciting.

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As for the way the fight will go, I agree 100% that Faber is not the same guy he was in 2012, but I just don't think he's on the same level as Barao. I don't think Barao stops him, but I can't see past another decision win for the champion.


Pretty much. I think Faber is at his absolute best right now so if he was ever going to win UFC gold, now is probably his best chance. But the problem is I don't think his absolute best is as good as Barao's absolute best.


Even the broken rib thing, it was Barao who did that to Faber. It wasn't like Faber came in hurt so Barao had a lucky advantage. He caused that damage and created the advantage himself.


No way is Barao losing his belt to the drummer from Hanson!




As for what Faber can do different, it's hard to say. Barao is going to be a tough match up for him no matter what he does. But I can see him maybe trying to wrestle more this time. Using his improved striking to open up the takedowns. I think the worst thing he did last time was fuck around on the outside to long. People do that against Barao and Aldo and it's pretty much suicide because you're playing right into their hands by being in the perfect range for them to blast you with leg kicks. If Faber can get on the inside more he'll do better on a few counts IMO. He'll offset Barao's reach advantage, he won't allow Barao the space to throw his leg kicks, and he'll be in range to clinch and grapple more.


That won't be easy either because Barao is a really nifty grappler as well, with solid takedown defence. But it's got to be a preferable strategy to just standing on the outside and trying to strike while getting your lead leg and your ribs caved in by Barao's shin.


We haven't really seen Barao on his back either, have we? If we have it wasn't for long. He's great with submissions. The way he dived on Pickett for the choke was amazing, and the way he slowly squeezed the fight out of McDonald was like a cobra squeezing a rat to death. But we don't know how he is off his back really, and Faber's top game is one of the best in the game. If he can get in that position he could do well.


But, I'm still going for Barao on points. I think it'll be a better fight, more competitive this time, but ultimately Barao will get the better of it. There's a reason his and Aldo's past opponents haven't been able to fight on the inside and it's because they're both very good at keeping guys at distance and smashing their legs in. It won't be easy to get past Barao's arms and legs but that's Faber's only hope I reckon. Close the distance, use a lot of elbows inside, mix in takedowns and try to make Barao weary of the takedown.


But yeah, Barao on points.

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