16 Jan 2014 08:15:40 AM
By Scott Sawitz
After taking the fight on less than a month’s notice, Urijah Faber will step into the main event of UFC 169 (February 1st, Newark) against Renan Barao, who took a definitive and dominant five-round decision over the former WEC stalwart at UFC 149, for what was then supposed to be an interim title in the bantamweight division. With Dominick Cruz vacating his title due to yet another injury, Faber will have his third opportunity to win UFC gold. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much time to prepare for Barao, who’s become one of the toughest outs in all of MMA.
Faber’s year-round commitment to being in near peak condition — a Team Alpha Male requirement, it seems — affords him this luxury of taking a fight on short notice. Over 18 months have passed since the California Kid walked out of the cage against Barao on the losing side, and what could have been Faber’s last UFC title fight has turned into something else entirely. With four wins (and three submission finishes) over highly ranked opponents marking a stellar 2013 campaign, Faber willed himself into title contention one more time by running roughshod over the UFC’s 135-pound division.
With the rematch set, and Faber looking ahead to what could (once again) be his last shot at a UFC belt, one imagines that the Duane “Bang” Ludwig-led Team Alpha Male squad has a much different game plan in mind for Faber against the Brazilian champion. Ludwig, who has spoke of his fondness for watching fight video in preparation, should have five UFC title rematches on his mind while preparing his fighter for next month’s bout. Each of these fights contain profound lessons that could help Faber become the first Team Alpha Male member to hold a UFC championship belt. Let’s begin…
Lesson: Make your opponent fight your gameRead More DIGG THIS