UFC 169: Barao Vs Faber II Review
[dropcap color=”#888″ type=”square”]F[/dropcap]ight fans were treated to a stacked card in the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey last night. While the UFC is certainly the secondary sporting organisation to hit the town this weekend, two title fights and a heavyweight battle between two veterans vying for their futures in the sport are not to be sneezed at.
The main event saw Urijah Faber take on Renan Barao for the bantamweight belt, which was inherited by the Brazilian at the expense of the incessantly injured Dominick Cruz. Faber caught a Barao kick early in the first round and suckered him with stiff hooks. The California Kid pressed forward with a right-left combo that forced Barao to briefly retreat. Just as Faber looked like he was settling into the fight, Barao cracked a leg kick followed by a heavy right hand that dropped his opponent. The Baron quickly pounced and worked his vicious ground and pound but Faber managed to escape and climb back to his feet. His recovery was short lived as Barao dropped him again with a powerful overhand right. Barao began peppering him with hammer fists on the mat while Faber grabbed his leg and tried to cover up. Referee Herb Dean deemed that Faber wasn’t adequately blocking the Brazilian’s barrage and stopped the fight with little over a minute left in the round. The TKO victory marks Barao’s seventh straight win in the UFC and his first title defence.
The second title fight of the night was between the seemingly unstoppable force that is Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas in the featherweight division. The champ started tentatively, checking leg kicks and throwing feints to feel out his opponent. While Lamas landed a number of leg kicks, they were consistently being checked. Aldo began to open up towards the end of the round and landed an ominous stinging leg kick of his own.
The pair traded leg kicks in the second round with Aldo’s clearly doing more damage. He followed up one devastating left leg kick with big hooks to the body. the champ continuously landed gruesome leg kicks for the duration of the round which left his Lamas with a slight but noticeable limp.
Aldo began to turn up the heat in the third round. Early in the round Aldo landed a dizzying two punch combo followed by two more of his trademark leg kicks. Lamas landed a few clean strikes but he was completely outclassed by the champ in this round.
As the fight entered the championship rounds, it became apparent that Lamas had grown weary of eating heavy leg kicks. Lamas tried to bring the fight to the mat but his takedown attempt was stuffed. Aldo then tripped his opponent to the canvas and had a rear naked choke which Lamas artfully escaped. The round ended with Lamas clinching at the fence.
After eating a couple of kicks to the body, Aldo scored an early takedown. However, Lamas managed to slip out of the champ’s mount and gain top position. The Bully showed that his moniker was warranted by showcasing his vicious ground and pound. Lamas dropped elbows on his opponent as if they were magnetically drawn to his head. The resilient Aldo could not be stopped though and he retained his belt with a unanimous decision victory.
Next on the card was a heavyweight showdown between veterans Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem. Both fighters entered this bout desperate for a win that would secure their future in the UFC following consecutive losses in the Octagon. Mir began the fight throwing an array of punches, none of which found their desired target. Overeem dropped Mir to the mat with a big knee to the body followed by a hard left hook. Overeem jumped on the former champion and landed a flurry of right hammer fists mixed with some bone-crushing knees to the body. Mir managed to pull guard and saw out the first round on his back.
Mir scored a takedown in the second and almost locked in a guillotine. Overeem escaped the submission attempt and spent the remainder of the round on top, firing off nasty elbows and short punches.
Overeem brought Mir to the mat early in the third round but, wary of his opponent’s proficiency at submissions, he immediately stood back up. Overeem showcased his ground and pound while the dejected Mir refused to throw in the towel. In the closing moments of the fight, Overeem rocked Mir with a huge right hand but was unable to finish. The judges gave all three rounds to Overeem.
Flyweight contenders John Lineker and Ali Bagautinov battled it out in the second fight of the main card. Bagautinov scored a takedown seconds into the first round and dominated from the top position. Lineker tried attempted a heel lock submission but let go as both fighters stand up. The Russian caught a leg kick and dumped Lineker to the ground where the fight stayed for the rest of the round with Bagautinov raining down heavy punches from the top position.
The pair traded shots in the second round while Lineker stuffed all of the Russian’s takedown attempts. Lineker had the better of the exchanges in this round landing stinging elbows to the ribs and solid hooks to the body.
Bagautinov scored consecutive takedowns in the final round and used his ground and pound to smother his opponent. Lineker couldn’t handle the Sambo master’s superior grappling skills and was unable to launch any attacks in the third. The judges all scored the fight 29-28 in favour of Bagautinov.
The opening fight of the main card saw former WEC champion Jamie Varner square off against Abel Trujillo in the lightweight division. This fight began at a blistering pace with both fighters traded big shots early on. Varner scored a takedown and tried to end the fight with a north-south choke but he was unsuccessful. Trujillo landed a huge left hook that hurt his opponent as they stood up in the last moments of the first.
The brawl continued in the second with both fighters trading massive punches. Varner went on the offensive and found home with a series of hammer fist, hooks and knees which left Trujillo in big trouble against the fence. However, just as it looked like all hope was lost, Killa unloaded a picture-perfect right hand that sent his opponent crashing to the mat and earned him the knockout victory. Trujillo earned himself the Knockout of the night bonus and both fighters went home with the Fight of the night award.