UFC 169 took place Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and the champions remained.
The UFC 169 main event pitted bantamweight champion Renan Barao taking on perennial No. 1 contender Urijah Faber.
The two combatants have met before and Barao appeared to be a step ahead of Faber, which awarded him a decision victory. Well, this time Barao looked to be about 10 steps ahead of the “California Kid.”
Mind you, Faber had less than a month to prepare for this match, although, it didn’t look like any amount of training would ready him for Barao.
Barao dropped Faber with a straight-right punch early in the first round. The former WEC featherweight champ recovered, but it wasn’t long before he was on the mat again.
Barao planted another fist on Faber’s head that forced the American to fall flat on his face. Barao jumped on him and released hammer fists on Faber’s head. Faber wasn’t doing much to improve his position and referee Herb Dean stepped in to halt the bout.
Faber contested that he was fit to continue, and UFC president Dana White concurred at the post-fight press conference that the match was stopped early, but the inevitable was in the mail. It was only a matter of time before Faber laid unconscious, therefore, the slightly earl stoppage was not a terribly bad one.
Barao remained the UFC bantamweight champion and has won an astonishing 32 consecutive fights. Faber is back to climbing the proverbial ladder to another title shot, which is something he claims is at the top of his agenda.
In the co-main event of the show, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo retained his belt with a series of traumatizing leg kicks against Ricardo Lamas.
Aldo landed punches and kicks at will through the first four rounds. Lamas’ left leg had moments of giving out, but the American toughed it out and continued to battle back against the champ.
Aldo was clearly up four rounds to zero on the judges’ scorecards heading into the fifth stanza, which is where the champ has shown signs f weakness in past fights. This match was no different.
Aside from the short amount of time Aldo spent on top, Lamas controlled Round 5, and threw everything he had left in him to finish the Brazilian.
Nonetheless, Aldo walked away the victor. He has not lost since 2005, is on a 17-fight win streak and is now being called upon for a superfight with UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Lamas, however, had an end put to his four consecutive wins.
In the night’s only heavyweight bout, Alistair Overeem had his best UFC performance to date against Frank Mir.
Overeem paced himself, even when seeing Mir was on close to being finished, which allowed the “Demolition Man” to continue putting inflicting damage.
The match was closest to being stopped in Round 1, when Mir was on his back against the cage and absorbing a multitude of punches and elbows for Overeem. Somehow, someway Mir lasted through the punishment.
The following two rounds were similar to the opening frame. Overeem battered Mir on the feet or the ground, while keeping a steady pace to ensure his large muscles would not fatigue.
Overeem bloodied Mir’s face and bruised his body en route to securing a unanimous decision victory. Though, the triumph put Overeem back in the win column, White criticized the Dutchman’s victory and called it a “crappy performance.”
Mir is now on a four-fight losing skid and retirement may be something the former UFC heavyweight champion should be considering.
If anything was learned in Ali Bagautinov’s bout against John Lineker, it’s that the Russian is not susceptible to leg locks.
Bagautinov had to grind down Lineker and employ his Sambo background. Lineker wasn’t totally outclassed, but it was evident Bagautinov was the superior grappler.
Bagautinov was placed in compromising positions more than once, especially getting caught up in leg locks, but he showed little concern. The biggest display of Bagautinov’s lack of acknowledgement that Lineker could hurt him by manipulating his knee or ankle came near the end of the fight when 2X World Combat Sambo Champion taunted his opponent while being held in a submission attempt.
Bagautinov received the judges’ nod and extended his win streak to 11. Meanwhile, Lineker had his four-fight win streak snapped, which could mean the Russian is next in line to meet UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Following a preliminary card that saw seven consecutive decisions, Abel Trujillo and Jamie Varner had seen enough.
Varner was surprising, hurting the always violent Trujillo and capitalizing on his wounded opponent, but Trujillo hung in there. The former WEC lightweight champion was on the brink of finishing Trujillo, but the North Carolina native rallied back for a remarkable come-from-behind victory.
As Varner stalked Trujillo in an effort to stop the fight, the Blackzilian stood his ground and fired back. Trujillo threw a punch with the worst of intentions while his opponent was coming towards him and put Varner to sleep before he hit the canvas.
It was a burner of a match that energized the decision-filled UFC 169 card. The victory also put Trujillo on a two-fight win streak and netted him $125k for “Fight of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night” bonuses.