UFC 149 Results & Recap: Barao outclasses Faber

nullUFC 149 saw a new champion crowned, an interim champ that is.

Renan Barao pushed his winning streak to 29 fights by beating Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to win the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship on Saturday night.

Barao made not have gotten the finish, but he decisively beat Faber thanks to his reach and his kicks. Each round he managed to out-point Faber and stay out of danger, leaving “The California Kid” puzzled throughout.

Barao certainly beat Faber in easier fashion than the actual champ, Dominick Cruz. It will be interesting to see if Cruz can find a way to stop the runaway train that is Barao. Barao may very well be the best 135-pounder in the world.

Faber has now lost his last five championship bouts, dating back to his time as a featherweight in the WEC. Though he is still highly competitive, he will likely not get another title fight anytime soon.

In the co-main event, Hector Lombard had a very unimpressive UFC debut.

The man considered to be a potential threat to Anderson Silva proved to be more of a threat to himself, as he was very tentative against Tim Boetsch. Neither man did much to impress, but two of the three judges believed that Boetsch did a little bit more, which earned him a split decision.

The poor showing from both men may open the door for Chris Weidman to earn the next middleweight title shot following his brutal KO win over Mark Munoz last week.

For complete results from UFC 149, check out the jump.

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UFC on Versus 6 Preview: Johnson vs. Cruz

nullThe main event of UFC on Versus 6 is for the UFC Bantamweight Championship with Dominick Cruz defending his UFC title for the second time against Demetrious Johnson.

The fight is a rare championship bout on free television, as the card airs on Versus this Saturday at 9PM ET.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this title bout.

Dominick Cruz (18-1): The bantamweight champion is coming off his toughest fight to date, a unanimous decision win over Urijah Faber at UFC 132 back in July. The fight was exciting and very competitive, but allowed the champ to avenge his lone loss in his career. Cruz’ style is very difficult to prepare for as he uses very elusive footwork to work in a combination of punches and kicks and then get out of danger. He also has a very explosive wrestling background, which he tends to use late in rounds to secure 10 points with the judges. Cruz has shown the ability to take a punch when hit, and stuff opponents takedowns with great ease.

Demetrious Johnson (9-1) – Johnson has quickly surged up the bantamweight rankings, winning his last four fights in the Zuffa Organization since losing his debut with the brand to Brad Pickett back in April of 2010. His win streak has included the likes of Damacio Page, Kid Yamamoto, and Miguel Torres. Johnson has a strong wrestling base that has worked to his advantage, as he has been able to keep opponents on their back. While he has some good striking, he has a very short reach and probably will struggle to land clean strikes on the mobile champion. Johnson’s best bet to win will be to get Cruz against the cage and use his strength to force him to the ground. The more this fight is fought with distance, the worse his chances are.

Who will win? – I think Johnson has some promise, but this is not a good matchup for him and I am not quite sure he is ready for a title shot. He has not beaten any of the top four bantamweights in Cruz, Faber, Joseph Benavidez, or Brian Bowles. This is a big step up in competition and the fight is on a big stage. I see Cruz controlling the fight with his style and winning by decision once again.

Cruz vs. Johnson title fight to headline UFC on Versus 6

nullThe UFC will air its first live title fight in the history of the organization.

According to NBCSports.com’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC will have Dominick Cruz defending his UFC bantamweight championship against Demetrious Johnson at UFC Live on Versus 6, which will take place from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. on Oct. 1.

There was much speculation about who would be next up for Cruz following his hard-fought decision win over Urijah Faber at UFC 132. Many felt Brian Bowles was in line to get a rematch, but it appears the UFC felt otherwise.

Johnson (9-1) has won four straight, including a decision win over Miguel Torres at UFC 130. His short size and speed could pose a problem for Cruz, who relies on his movement to win fights.

The UFC once aired a light heavyweight title fight between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dan Henderson on free television, but that was on tape delay. This will be the first live on TV title fight in UFC history.

With this fight announced, the UFC will be putting on four title fights in the month of October with Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard and Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian taking place on Oct. 8 and Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz taking place on Oct. 29. It should be quite a month of fights.

Top 10 Bantamweight Rankings

nullUFC 132 established who the top bantamweight in the world is.

The rankings haven’t changed too much in the last few months, but here is the latest top 10 in the 135-pound division.

1. Dominick Cruz (18-1) – Cruz (AP Photo) avenged his only loss in the division by taking a decision win over Urijah Faber. Cruz controlled the style and pacing of the fight and landed a lot more strikes. The bout was close, but Faber didn’t show me much to think he deserved to get the title.

2. Urijah Faber (25-5) – Faber gave Cruz the toughest fight he has to date in the division. He landed a few big punches and avoided the takedowns of Cruz. Faber proved he still has something left in the tank, but he needs to make some adjustments to beat Cruz. It will be interesting to see who is next for “The California Kid.”

3. Joseph Benavidez (14-2) – Benavidez has been relatively quiet as of late as he hasn’t fought since UFC 128, but he will take on Eddie Wineland at UFC Live 5. Benavidez has been in a tough spot as his teammate, Faber, has been contending for the title. Benavidez now has a chance to get back into the spotlight, but he needs an impressive showing.

4. Brian Bowles (10-1) – Bowles has earned a rematch for his title as he has two solid wins since coming back from his injury. Bowles lost to Cruz because of a broken hand, not because he was clearly beaten by the champion, so there is some question as to what he could do against Cruz. Given the way he lost the title, I think he deserves the next shot at it.

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Who should get the next shot at Dominick Cruz?

nullAs always, after a champion defends his title, the question is always: who is next?

Dominick Cruz won a very close decision over Urijah Faber at UFC 132, but the fight was close enough to warrant Faber some discussion of an immediate rematch.

But, if not Faber next, then who deserves the shot?

Here is a look at four possible candidates.

1. Urijah Faber – Faber gave Cruz the toughest fight he has had at bantamweight, even tougher than his teammate Joseph Benavidez. Faber has the quickness to match Cruz, but he still wasn’t able to force Cruz out of his style. He was out-struck and to a degree, out-wrestled. It is hard to see Faber winning without a KO against Cruz. Faber has also lost his last four title fights and one has to wonder if he deserves an immediate rematch with a 4-4 record in his last eight fights.

2. Brian Bowles – Bowles is 10-1 in his career with his lone loss coming against Cruz after 10 minutes. Bowles wasn’t stopped by Cruz, he simply broke his hand. Bowles was getting beat at that point in the fight, but still, it wasn’t decisive. Bowles had a year off after the loss to Cruz due to the injury, but he has bounced back with two-straight wins. Considering the way he lost the belt, he probably deserves some strong consideration for a rematch with Cruz.

3. Demetrious Johnson – Johnson has won four straight fights in the division, including wins over “Kid” Yamamoto and Miguel Torres. The small and scrappy wrestler may struggle with the movement of Cruz, but he appears to have some athleticism to maybe pose a challenge to the champion.

4. Brad Pickett – Picket is the lone loss for Johnson, but he has been largely inactive due to injuries. He lost a tough decision to Scott Jorgensen last August, but rebounded with a win over Ivan Menjivar. Pickett is a scrapper that has some good hands and good wrestling. Pickett would certainly bring the fight to Cruz, but he hasn’t been in the public eye much and has actually yet to fight in the UFC.