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Tag: Urijah Faber

Jumping the Gun Alert: Dana White Says Renan Barao Will Become “Pound-for-Pound Best” With Win Over Faber


(White, seen here wearing the pound-for-pound best t-shirt from the pound-for-pound best Rocky film of all time. Pound-for-pound.)

I know, I know, we already agreed to stop letting this man do our thinking for us, but check this out.

During the Fight Night 35 post-fight media scrum, the topic of discussion quickly shifted from the event itself and to the recently booked bantamweight title fight between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber. Specifically, Dana White was asked what would be next for both fighters should Barao come out victorious (again). White’s response:

If Barao goes out and stops Faber, he’s probably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Well that was fast.

Barao, who is currently ranked #6 pound-for-pound on the UFC’s much-maligned rankings system, will catapult himself past the likes of Chris Weidman, Jon Jones, and Cain Velasquez should he defeat a guy he’s already beaten before. In what will officially be considered his first title win at 135 lbs. That’s the takeaway here.

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Five UFC Title Rematches That Urijah Faber Should Look to For Inspiration


(Photo via Getty)

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…

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos 2 @ UFC 155

(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

Lesson: Make your opponent fight your game

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UFC Gambling Odds: Every Title Fight Currently Scheduled for 2014 Is Basically a Squash Match


(Photo via Getty)

The betting line for Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber has been released, with Barao nearly a 3-1 favorite to defend his bantamweight title at UFC 169 next month. That’s unsurprising, considering that Faber is coming into the fight on less than a month’s notice and already has a loss to Barao on his record. What’s interesting is that every other title fight that the UFC currently has scheduled in 2014 is an even bigger mismatch, in terms of gambling odds. Take a look at the numbers below, via BestFightOdds

UFC 169, February 1st
Renan Barao (-280) vs. Urijah Faber (+220)
Jose Aldo (-624) vs. Ricardo Lamas (+501)

UFC 170, February 22nd
Ronda Rousey (-400) vs. Sara McMann (+318)

UFC 171, March 15th
Johny Hendricks (-387) vs. Robbie Lawler (+323)

UFC 172, April 12th
Jon Jones (-600) vs. Glover Teixeira (+495)

In fact, the only UFC title fight with a slightly closer better line than Barao vs. Faber is Chris Weidman (-255) vs. Vitor Belfort (+195), which hasn’t been tied to a specific event yet. So, which longshot is worth sticking money on? Considering that Lawler and Belfort have the power to change a fight with a single punch/kick, I could think of stupider ways to blow my money than putting small action on those dudes. Your thoughts?

Fun fact: A $2 parlay bet on all six underdogs listed above would net you a hypothetical profit of $11,935.41. Just sayin’.

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BREAKING: Dominick Cruz Tears Groin & Vacates Title, Faber vs. Barao II at UFC 169


(“That’s UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz leading today’s pack…wait a minute…he appears to be veering off the track and…yep, he’s headed for the medical tent. This cannot be good, ladies and gentlemen.” Photo via Getty.)

To borrow a phrase from the Co-Main Event Podcast, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

Dominick Cruz is injured. A-G-A-I-N. Groin tear this time. He has vacated the bantamweight title (a lot of that going around lately…) and in his absence, interim champion Renan Barao has been promoted to undisputed champ and will rematch Urijah Faber at UFC 169 with his first official defense on the line. The announcement was made by Dana White on Sportscenter at 4:30 EST.

Faber will be fighting on less than a month’s notice. It should be noted that the last time these two met, the result was the worst card of the year.

All things considered, I’m kind of excited for this. No, seriously. It’s not just that my New Year’s Resolution was to be less cynical (also, stop waking up naked in cornfields with blood on my hands). This has been a long time coming for Cruz.

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Urijah Faber’s Latest Comeback, And the Mystery of Creating New UFC Stars Under 155 Pounds


(Urijah Faber was the UFC’s biggest “little” star when the 145- and 135-pounders entered the promotion three years ago — and not much has changed since then. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

This past weekend at UFC on FOX 9, for the eighth time in eight UFC fights, Urijah Faber was on a fight poster for a UFC card as one of the main three fights of the night — an absolute rarity for any sub-155 pound fighter. The card, which took place in Faber’s backyard of Sacramento, California, marked the fifth time Faber has either headlined or co-headlined a UFC event in the nearly three years he’s been with the promotion.

Not only is Faber the only sub-155′er to be featured on eight fight posters, but he’s also only one of three to be featured in five or more main or co-main events of UFC cards, along with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

However, unlike Johnson, who has fought mostly on free TV, only Faber and Aldo have appeared in more than one pay-per-view main or co-main event, with Faber having headlined two thus far and Aldo three.

According to Wikipedia, there are currently 419 fighters signed to the UFC, not including the recently-added women’s strawweights. 126 of those fighters are part of the UFC featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight divisions. Including women’s bantamweight fighters, 144 fighters currently signed to the UFC are part of the sub-155 pound weight classes.

My math skills aren’t great, but that should mean that 34% of UFC fighters are either 145, 135, or 125 pounds. And yet, for some reason, despite over a third of the roster fighting in these weight classes, only two of those 144 fighters have headlined two or more UFC pay-per-view cards, despite the UFC having featured 42 PPV events over the last three years since the little guys merged over from the WEC in late 2010 (not including UFC 124, which only featured lightweights and above).

How can this be?

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UFC on Fox 9: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly


(Uh…guys? I’m pretty sure that’s Herb Dean. / Screencap via r/MMA)

By Mark Dorsey

Before we get into the endless promotion for the year-ending and stacked UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2, let’s take one last, clear-eyed look at what went down at WEC UFC on Fox 9. The injury-cursed event seemed destined to be a disappointment to many fans who consider the lighter fighters boring, especially considering it was the lightest fight card in UFC history, with an average weight of just over 145 pounds. The fact that the fights were taking place at the Sleep Train Arena seemed like a bad omen, foretelling the coma-inducing boredom that might have resulted from a night of decisions. Nevertheless, despite the haters, the smaller guys provided a card of highly entertaining fights and they showcased why many MMA purists consider them the most exciting fighters in the sport.

The Good
• Too often, referees only get noticed when they screw up. However, the officials for this card should be praised for a solid night of work in which they did their jobs properly and kept the focus where it belongs: the fighters. Props to John McCarthy, Herb Dean, and Mike Beltran for getting through the 11-fight card with no critical errors. Even Dana White, who has been openly critical of MMA officiating in the past, praised both Big John and Herb Dean, saying, “These are the best guys” and complimented his one-time nemesis, McCarthy, saying, “When John is in that Octagon, he is in absolute and total control.”

• Much has been written lately about the success of Team Alpha Male under head trainer, Daune “Bang” Ludwig. Saturday night gave the camp an opportunity to showcase how deserving they were of that praise, with four fighters from the Sacramento-based crew competing. As a whole, the team didn’t perform flawlessly, but they did manage to win two of their four fights. It was a great night for Urijah Faber, as the hometown hero steamrolled Michael McDonald and established himself — again — as the top contender in the Bantamweight division. Chad Mendes also did what he needed to, beating Nik Lentz by unanimous decision. On the losing side, Danny Castillo dropped a close decision to Edson Barboza that many thought should have been a draw, and Joseph Benavidez got knocked out cold by Demetrious Johnson. Other than Benavidez, Team Alpha looked good, and judging from their backstage reaction to Urijah Faber’s win, they truly are a tightknit group that will continue their upward trajectory.

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UFC on FOX 9 Salaries: The Year of The Rhino “The California Kid” Continues


(UFC on FOX 9 Phantom Cam highlights via Fox Sports.)

Before snuffing out Joseph Benavidez at UFC on FOX 9 last weekend, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson proclaimed that he wasn’t fighting to be the best, but rather so “when I’m done fighting, I never have to work again.” Johnson doesn’t want Anderson Silva‘s record, he wants Anderson Silva money, one could say. “I want my son and my wife to have a good life and never have to worry about anything,” he continued. Ever the heel, that Mighty Mouse is.

Now that the UFC on FOX 9 salaries have been made available, it’d be hard to declare that Johnson isn’t well on his way to achieving the financial security he so desires. The flyweight champ might not be making “Anderson Silva money,” but he managed to bank $175,000 for just two minutes work on Saturday, which makes for a nice chunk of change when combined with that X-box One money he is surely making.

Now 4-0 in 2013 with three submission victories to his credit, Urijah Faber topped the $1,007,000 payroll, banking a cool $200,000 for his second round, SOTN-earning win over Michael McDonald. Dude is looking more and more like Vitor Belfort by the day, so let the year of the Rhino ”The California Kid” continue. Join us after the jump for the full list of disclosed salaries, as well as our thoughts on the payout.

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UFC on FOX 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 — Live Results & Commentary


(It was then that Demetrious realized his own head was chilly, and the envy built up inside him, poisonous and overwhelming. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

The UFC is setting up shop at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento this evening, and while injuries have hacked this card down to a hobbling shell of its former self, we’ll still happily tune in to watch the Team Alpha Male crew defend its home turf on network television. On the docket for this evening: Joseph Benavidez takes another crack at reigning flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, local legend Urijah Faber takes on 22-year-old bantamweight phenom Michael McDonald, and Chad Mendes looks for his fifth-straight KO/TKO in the featherweight division against Nik Lentz. Plus, Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig kick off the broadcast in a battle between a guy who collects a lot of bonus money and a guy with no sponsors.

Handling our liveblog for this evening is Aaron Mandel, who will be banging out round-by-round results from the UFC on FOX 9 main card after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and let us know how you’re feeling in the comments section.

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Catch the ‘UFC on FOX 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez II’ Weigh-Ins Right Here Starting at 7 p.m. EST

In just a few minutes, the weigh-ins for UFC on FOX 9 kick off from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Funny, I didn’t know they named an arena after Francis Carmont, and in America no less (*lights fireworks and releases flock of doves*). If our past few posts about this event are any indication, three fighters will fail to make weight tonight, two fighters will injure themselves backstage, and the entire attending audience will be consumed in a wave of Godzilla’s all-cleansing fire. Seriously, have you guys seen the trailer for the Godzilla remake yet? It looks insane.

Anyway, Team Alpha Male will look to continue their run of dominance under Duane Ludwig (“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Bang Era!”), but they’ll be facing some stiff opposition in the forms of Edson Barboza, Nik Lentz, and Michael McDonald. So swing by CagePotato starting at 7 p.m. EST to catch the weigh-ins and swing by tomorrow at 8 p.m. for our liveblog of the event.

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The BANG Effect: A Statistical Look at 2013′s Most Improved MMA Team [DATABOMB]


(Duane Ludwig [right] with one of his star pupils. / Photo via Sherdog)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

An unlikely new coaching star, Duane “Bang” Ludwig has surged to the forefront of the competitive MMA coaching landscape after a fortuitous change of scenery. Ludwig is the obvious candidate for 2013′s “MMA Coach of the Year,” and few would question this, despite little fan awareness of his coaching prowess just one year ago.

Ludwig certainly had a tough 2012 that included three consecutive UFC losses, each one by first-round stoppage, the last of which added a fight-ending and career-threatening knee injury to the insult. But almost immediately after beginning the lengthy rehabilitation process, Ludwig got an unexpected phone call from Urijah Faber, and the creator of the Bang Muay Thai system suddenly migrated from the suburbs of Denver, Colorado to Sacramento, California.

Since Ludwig’s arrival at Team Alpha Male in December of 2012, his team’s fighters have been posting wins and highlight reel finishes at an unlikely pace. It’s even more unlikely, literally, when you consider the low share of TKO finishes that normally occur in the smaller weight classes where most Alpha Male fighters compete. The MMA media have been quick to point to the undeniable results of Team Alpha Male’s performance in the UFC as evidence that Ludwig was the missing ingredient to a team with championship potential. To be fair, the team already included former champions and contenders under Zuffa banners, but none that currently held a UFC belt. Now heading into this weekend’s UFC on FOX 9 card, Team Alpha Male has a chance to rack up not just four more wins, but capture its first UFC title of the Bang Era, and hold leading contender status in several divisions.

With all this hype around a team that is making a lot of noise, it’s a legitimate question to ask: Are they really better, or is this just a nice run of luck? The sudden emergence of Duane Ludwig as the MMA Coach of the Year is an extraordinary claim, and if Carl Sagan were still around (and an MMA fan), he would suggest that we demand extraordinary evidence before reaching such a bold conclusion. So I’m going to run the numbers in excruciating detail just to make sure.

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