The UFC 149 main event will consist of a UFC interim bantamweight bout between Urijah Faber (26-6) and Renan Barao (28-1, 1NC). Faber was originally scheduled to face Dominick Cruz in a rematch of their UFC 132 match which Cruz won via unanimous decision. Cruz blew out his ACL and will be on the shelf for close to a year, and Barao was chosen to take his place with an interim title being implemented. Faber spoke on a recent conference call about facing Barao:
“Barão has a good record and is obviously very talented – but I’ve been fighting at a different level,” Faber said. “He’s got this great record, but I’ve fought better guys and beaten better guys than he has. A lot of people seem intimidated by this guy, but I’m not. He’s got skills and he loves to brawl, but none of that worries me. I’m dragging him into deep water. Like I’ve said, I’m the best he’s ever fought but he’s not the best I’ve fought – and I will prove that to him in the first round of the fight. One round in, he will realize the difference between me and the rest of the guys he’s fought.”
“This is a better match up for me and the fans than me against Dominick would have been. This guy comes forward and clearly loves to fight, where Dominick likes to find his range and go in and out. This is more my type of fight – this will be a war.
“This is to decide who is No.1 in the division. I feel I won both fights against Dominick, and we will get to that when his knee is healed. But I feel the winner of this fight (with Barão) will be the No.1 in the division.”
Faber is (3-1) since dropping down to the bantamweight division with the lone loss coming against Cruz. Faber has defeated two former champions in two of those bouts in Brian Bowles and Eddie Wineland, so there’s some truth in him having fought stiffer competition. However, Barao is one of most dynamic fighters in the division with the ability to end the fight on the feet or on the ground while being one of the more accurate strikers according to Fightmetric. It should make for a compelling main event for the Canadian fans.
UFC 149 will take place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on July 21. Stay close to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for more UFC 149 coverage.