The UFC confirmed last week that Renan Barao‘s interim bantamweight championship fight against Eddie Wineland has been re-scheduled to serve as the co-main event of UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson (September 21st; Air Canada Centre, Toronto). The match was originally slated to headline UFC 161 last month, until Barao suffered a foot injury and had to pull out on short notice. Instead of staying on the card against a replacement opponent, Eddie Wineland was taken off the lineup altogether.
Barao has gone 31 fights without a defeat — including 20 straight victories, the last five of which were earned in the UFC — and last competed in February, where he scored a fourth-round arm-triangle choke submission against Michael McDonald. If Barao beats Wineland, he’ll become the first fighter in UFC history to defend an interim title twice — an odd achievement, made possible by the fact that actual champion Dominick Cruz is suffering through one of the longest injury layoffs in recorded history.
By comparison, Eddie Wineland’s two-fight win streak is much less impressive, although he did score wins over perennial contenders Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett last year. So, will Eddie just be another notch on Barao’s bed-post, or does he legitimately stand a chance here?