Image via UFC
Renan Barao managed to finish Brad Pickett with a rear naked choke in the first round in their bout at UFC 138, but it wasn't easy. After an action-packed first three minutes that saw both fighters land a bunch of shots on the feet, Barao landed a massive flying knee that hurt Pickett, then followed it up with a few punches that dropped him. After he realized the ground and pound wasn't going to get the finish, he expertly jumped on his back, set it up, and finished with a choke at 4:02 of the first round. Barao sure looks like a serious threat in the bantamweight division with that performance.
The fighters came out swinging, with Barao landing two big shots. Barao also landed some nice kicks, while Pickett landed a couple of counters. Pickett landed a solid left hook, while Barao whiffed on a couple of spinning back kicks. Barao shot in but got stuffed by Pickett, who just missed with a huge right hand. One Punch held the center of the cage and was getting off first a lot, but not landing as much as Barao. He still had his moments though for sure.
Out of nowhere, Barao landed a huge knee and some punches that dropped Pickett flat on his back, and Barao landed a ton of punches on the ground. Somehow though, Pickett survived. Barao immediately jumped on his back, sunk in the hooks and looked for a choke. He couldn't get his arm under the chin, but it didn't matter as he squeezed and squeezed until Pickett was forced to tap. Pickett showed a ton of heart by surviving as long as he did, but he couldn't stop Barao after that knee landed.
Pickett had been out of action for over 10 months before this bout with a back injury. This was his UFC debut. Barao entered the fight on a ridiculous 26-fight winning streak, including two bouts in the WEC and one in the UFC. He most recently defeated Cole Escovedo by unanimous decision at UFC 130 in May.