Renan Barao (28 – 1) will face Urijah Faber for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship at UFC 148. The announcement was made at the end of tonight’s Ultimate Fighter Live by UFC President Dana White. Renan Barao and Faber will battle for the Interim title as current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz has been sidelined with an ACL Injury.
Renan Barao comes into this matchup on a 29 fight unbeaten streak, (28-1, 1 no contest) after losing his first pro matchup Barao has not tasted defeat since. Barao has won all three of his bouts in the UFC, beating Cole Escovedo, Brad Pickett, and most recently a decision win over Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143. The Brazilian fighter out of the well respected Nova Uniao camp is dangerous in all facets of mixed martial arts having finished 19 of his opponents in his 28 wins (13 by submission, 6 by KO/TKO). In an official statement Barao expressed surprise in his placement as number one contender but vows he will be ready to put on a show at UFC 148:
“I’m very surprised to be the No.1 contender to now fight Urijah Faber but I’m so very excited to fight for the title and replace Dominick Cruz. I’m very confident. I have been training a long time for this chance and I will be ready to go out there and put on a good show.”
Former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber is coming off a victory over Brian Bowles at UFC 139 which pushed him back into number one slot in the Bantamweight division after losing a razor close decision against Dominick Cruz in his previous fight at UFC 132. The bout between Faber and Cruz at UFC 148 would have been their third meeting inside the cage, with each fighter holding a victory over the other. Faber holds a submission victory over Cruz from 2007 at WEC 26.
UFC 148 will take place at the MGM Grand Arena on July 7th from Las Vegas, Nevada. The interim title fight will be the co-main event with the Middleweight Championship fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen headlining. Also on the main card is a light heavyweight match with Tito Ortiz taking on Forest Griffin in a rubber match which will likely be Tito Ortiz’s final fight with the UFC. In middleweight action Rich Franklin returns to the octagon after a long injury layoff against the always exciting Cung Le, and the opening bout for the main card will be Dong Hyun Kim and Demian Maia battling in a welterweight matchup. This will be Maia’s welterweight debut.
Was Barao the right choice for the Interim Bantamweight title match? Do you like his chances against “The California Kid”? Let us know in the comment section.