In the main event at UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II, UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao (31-1(1) MMA; 6-0 UFC) faces challenger Urijah Faber (30-6 MMA; 6-2 UFC). This 5 round title fight caps off the five fight PPV card. The UFC Rankings have champion Barao at #6 on the Pound for Pound list, with Faber as the #1 contender at Bantamweight, plus #13 Pound for Pound. UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II airs live on PPV from Newark, NJ this Saturday, February 1 with a fight time of 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT for the main card.
Interesting story leading into this fight, as it's not only the second Barao vs. Faber fight, it's the second time they have fought because of an injury to Dominick Cruz. Barao and Faber first met for the interim Bantamweight title in July 2012 when a planned Faber vs. Cruz title fight was cancelled. Barao took the decision there, and has since defended his belt and moved up to full champion status. This was a planned unification fight between Barao and Cruz, but, surprise surprise, another Cruz injury led to Faber getting the call up for this rematch.
Bloody Elbow's own Kid Nate, Dallas Winston and Connor Ruebusch broke down this bout in the MMA Vivisection for UFC 169:
How do these two stack up?
Barao: 26 years old | 5'7" | 70" reach
Faber: 34 years old | 5'6" | 69" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
When Renan Barao first faced Urijah Faber, Barao was still rather new to the UFC and something of an unknown. Now, he's one of the company's strongest champions. He has defended his title twice already, and is currently riding an insane 32 fight undefeated streak. Barao is a Nova Uniao trainee, and is finally starting to get much deserved recognition as one of the sport's current elite fighters. With his high level striking and submission skills, he is a force.
The narrative on Urijah Faber has been the same for the past 5 years since his WEC Featherweight title fight loss. Non-title fights? Faber is undefeated. Title fights? Faber is 0-5. Much talk has been made of Faber and Team Alpha Male's great improvements under new coach Duane Bang Ludwig, and Faber has indeed looked the best he has in a long time lately. His last fight was particularly impressive, as he rolled through Michael McDonald and looked like the Faber of old. Can he break the Alpha Male curse and once again bring the team its much sought after gold?
Why should you care?
Say what you will about Faber's title fight record, but the man almost always entertains. This will be a very, very good fight, and probably the last shot at glory for the California Kid.