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Tag: Renan Barao

Renan Barao’s Interim Title Defense at UFC 165 Will (Hopefully) Be His Last


(Barao’s success in MMA has caught the attention of Hollywood. He’ll be appearing in the next ‘Fast & Furious’ movie, playing the part of a dead raccoon lying by the side of the road. / Photo via Getty)

Already the longest-reigning interim champion in UFC history in terms of time holding the belt, bantamweight phenom Renan Barao could become the first UFC fighter to defend an interim belt twice when he takes on Eddie Wineland later this month at UFC 165. But being an interim champ isn’t exactly something that Barao takes pride in.

No disrespect to [Dominick Cruz], but from the moment I won this belt, and I have defended it once, I considered myself the champion,” Barao said yesterday during a UFC 165 conference call.

We can see how Barao might be confused, considering that he does in fact own a championship belt, and the real champ is nowhere in sight. Cruz, of course, has been sidelined for nearly two years due to a blown ACL and resulting complications. And although the UFC has been patient with “The Dominator”‘s long absence, the promotion may finally be setting an ultimatum on his return. As UFC president Dana White said during the conference call:

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Dominick Cruz Eyes Early 2014 Return, Has No Intention of Vacating Bantamweight Title


(…and until then, we’ll just have to settle for awkward fist-pose photos. / Props: @RenanBaraoUFC)

UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was a dominant one before he became an absent one. It has been nearly two years since Cruz has fought, thanks to two consecutive ACL tears in his knee, but the injured champ hopes to return early next year.

“I’m looking to be back the beginning of next year is what it’s looking like from what the doctors have told me, so that’s my goal. Unfortunately, the doctor hasn’t even released me, so I couldn’t even make a date if I wanted to,” Cruz recently told MMA Junkie.

“It’s like when you got knocked out and you get put on suspension. It’s the same type of deal with this injury. There’s a set time and stipulation with a knee injury that I’ve gone through, especially doubled. So I’m just listening to the doctor so I stay back and don’t just come back.”

So, the up-side is that Cruz, who probably knows his own body better than anyone, is optimistic at this point. The bad news is that when he returns isn’t completely up to him.

When he does return, however, Cruz says it will be in a title fight. He scoffed at the notion that he’d vacate his title and take a “warm-up” fight first. If someone wants his title, they’ll have to take it from him in the Octagon.

“First of all, it’s silly to think that a champion would ever willingly give away the belt that he’s worked for,” Cruz explained.

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Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland Interim Bantamweight Title Fight Rescheduled for UFC 165 Co-Main Event


(Pfft. Clearly, the UFC is just trying to protect their pretty-boy interim champion. / Photo via Getty)

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?

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Update: Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans Now Headlines UFC 161, MMA Fans Trapped in 2011 Rejoice


(Oh yeah, Rashad, we just went there.)

It has recently been announced that, following Renan Barao’s withdrawal from his scheduled interim title fight with Eddie Wineland — the battle between light heavyweight wrestlers Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson will now serve as the headliner for UFC 161. While this change would at first seem like a huge downgrade (hence the kneejerk reaction title) given both fighter’s underwhelming performances against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Lyoto Machida, respectively, it actually has all the makings for one hell of a fight. Perhaps even because of that fact.

The news was passed along by the UFC’s official twitter account earlier today. The fight is still scheduled for three rounds.

Evans has dropped two of his past three fights and is in need of a big win if he is to ever delay any more discussion of a potential (and likely dreadful) drop to middleweight. Henderson also finds his back somewhat against a wall, as the 42-year old’s stock has been decreasing ever since he was forced to pull out from his UFC 151 title fight with Jon Jones. Again, these may sound like criticisms, but in all reality, they only heighten the chance that these two veterans put on a show for the ages come June 15th.

As for the Jake Shields/Tyron Woodley fight that will likely be bumped up to the main card in light of this…

-J. Jones

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Interim UFC Champ Barao Pulls Out of UFC 161 Title Defense Against Eddie Wineland

Tatame by way of Bloody Elbow reports that June 15th’s UFC 161 has lost its main event. UFC interim 135 pound champion Renan Barao was set to face Eddie Wineland in the event’s headlining match but the Brazilian has reportedly been forced to pull out due to injury.

Barao is reported to have injured a foot. He became the interim champion by beating Urijah Faber after champion Dominick Cruz went on injured reserve because of multiple knee ligament injuries. Wineland is on a two-fight win streak and Barao recently defended the interim belt by choking out Michael McDonald and earning his 20th consecutive win.

As of yet, the extent of Barao’s injury is unknown and so then is how long he will be out of action. No word yet from the UFC, either, on a substitution main event for UFC 161.

You up for an interim-interim bantamweight champ, nation?

- Elias Cepeda

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Interview: Urijah Faber Breaks Down His Upcoming MMA Combine, MMADraft.com, Optical Panacea Posters, And Cruz vs. Barao


(An excerpt from Urijah Faber’s Optical Panacea poster. Click the image to see the full-size extended version.)

By Ben Goldstein

From the very beginning of his career, Urijah Faber understood that he could be so much more than just a guy throwing punches in a cage. The California Kid bought his own gym in 2006, and went on to build one of the most successful fight teams in the sport. He’s partnered up with apparel brands ranging from K-Swiss to Torque. He’s written a book. And he’s been the entrepreneurial driving force behind a number of forward-thinking enterprises, including MMADraft.com — a site he launched with Phil Davis that seeks to find better opportunities and wider attention for amateur fighters — and Optical Panacea, a new company that elevates MMA fighter posters into fine art.

With Faber awaiting his next fight-assignement from the UFC, we spent some time on the phone with him yesterday to discuss all of the projects that will keep him hustling this summer, from the first-ever MMA Combine that will take place at the next UFC Fan Expo on July 6th, to the public launch party for Optical Panacea that will be going down next Friday in Las Vegas. (Be there!) Enjoy, and be sure to follow Urijah on Twitter @UrijahFaber.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: It’s been a month since your submission win over Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 Finale. Has the UFC given you any word on when they want you to return, or offered you your next opponent?

URIJAH FABER: I haven’t heard anything. I’ve kind of been on vacation, but I’m looking forward to continuing training and doing big things.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Duane Ludwig has been getting a lot of attention lately for his work as the head coach at Team Alpha Male. Is there one thing he’s specifically told you or taught you that’s helped to improve your game?

URIJAH FABER: I think one thing in particular is that we’ve been doing a lot of drilling. As wrestlers, we’ve all drilled a lot with our wrestling techniques, and now we’re bringing that into the other avenues as well. Duane’s got some awesome drills, and he has a great system down — the Duane Bang Muay Thai system — that we’re all learning. I was definitely able to incorporate a little bit of that into my standup [in my last fight], and it’s only going to get better.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Tell me a little about the MMA Combine for amateur fighters that you and Phil Davis are hosting at the next UFC Fan Expo in July. How close will this be to something like the NFL Scouting Combine, and what are some of the testing criteria that will be specific to MMA?

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‘UFC on FUEL 7′ Aftermath — Barao Defends Interim Belt, Picks Up 20th Consecutive Win


(Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao | Photo via MMA Weekly)

By Elias Cepeda

Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao withstood some dangerous moments and an overall stiff challenge from Michael McDonald in the main event of the UFC on FUEL 7 card in England yesterday to retain his belt with a fourth round arm-triangle submission win. After three rounds of close action, that saw McDonald land some hard shots to the dome of the champion, Barao was able to drag the challenger to the mat, take his back and then quickly transition to a cross-side knee-on-belly position with a locked arm-triangle and force the tap.

Throughout the fight, Barao looked confident on his feet but clearly wanted to take McDonald to the ground where he’d be safe from the American’s nasty counter-punches and where he assumed he’d have a clearer advantage. McDonald survived being taken down early in the first round and stuffed many more takedown attempts up until the end.

Ultimately, the champion’s conditioning enabled him to continue to doggedly pursue McDonald and keep him on the mat. Barao earned an $50,000 with his Submission of The Night and urged injured regular bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz to come back as soon as possible, in his post-fight remarks. The win represented Barao’s 20th-straight victory, in a stunning streak that dates back to April 2008.

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UFC on FUEL 7: Barao vs. McDonald — Main Card Results & Commentary


(It’s kind of offensive that the UFC promos keep referring to Barao as a “monster.” He’s a human being, okay? An aggressive, scary human being whose mother just happens to be half-cthulhu / Photo via MMAJunkie.)

Today at the Wembley Arena in London, UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao and 22-year-old phenom Michael McDonald will do battle to determine who’s truly the greatest 135-pound fighter in the world, at least until Dominick Cruz finally heals up and puts an end to this ridiculous charade. Alright, so an interim title might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still a damn good fight, and the rest of the card features a crowd-pleasing assortment of slugfests and future stars.

Leading us through today’s UFC on FUEL 7 liveblog is Alex Giardini, who will be laying down round-by-round results from the main card broadcast after the jump beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and please share your own thoughts in the comments section.

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Watch the ‘UFC on FUEL 7: Barao vs. McDonald’ Weigh-Ins Right Here at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT [UPDATED w/RESULTS]


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

All 24 fighters on the surprisingly-awesome UFC on FUEL 7 card will be hitting the scales shortly in London. You can watch the weigh-ins live in the player above starting at 11 a.m. ET/ 8 a.m. PT; results will be updated after the jump. And be sure to come back tomorrow afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. ET for our liveblog of the FUEL TV main card, alright?

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CagePotato Databomb #6: Breaking Down the UFC Bantamweights by Striking Performance


(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

It’s almost time for the interim bantamweight championship fight between Renan Barao and Michael McDonald. But first, let’s examine the whole UFC bantamweight division in several key striking metrics. As one of the youngest divisions with quite a few newcomers, there were several chart busters who have performed either really well in a certain metric, or in Mike Easton’s case, really poorly, so those outliers are noted. Usually those fighters will regress towards the mean, but they’re worth keeping an eye on. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.

As a group, the 135’ers are the hardest to hit, as illustrated by their lowest power head striking accuracy of any UFC division. But they manage to maintain a high pace of action, with the second-highest significant strike attempts per minute average. (Flyweights have the highest.) So which fighters get the awards in this frenzied group?

The Winners

Sniper Award: Rangy southpaw Alex Caceres leads the division with 48% power head striking accuracy. Though he has yet to score a knockdown in the UFC, the Bruce Lee superfan has definitely put on entertaining fights including sharp striking, rapid pace, and some very retro body suits.

Energizer Bunny Award: Johnny Bedford has been outstriking his UFC opponents more than 2:1 on his way to two finishes. Bedford’s size has been an advantage for him in one of the smallest weight classes, and we’ll see if he can continue his streak.

Biggest Ball(s) Award: In addition to outworking his opponents, double award winner Johnny Bedford is 2-0 in the UFC with two knockout finishes. But an honorable mention also goes to knockout machine Michael “Mayday” McDonald, who has landed four knockdowns during his 5-0 streak with Zuffa. McDonald gets his biggest test yet against higher volume striker and interim champ Renan Barao, in an interesting contrast of power and finesse.

The Losers

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