UFC 148, scheduled for Las Vegas, NV on July 7th, 2012 will likely be the UFC’s biggest card of the year, with the Middleweight title on the line between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, and the co-main event has been announced for an interim 135 lb title between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. Barao is a replacement for Champion Dominick Cruz, who suffered an injury in training, and was forced to pull out of a third match with Faber. Barao is a bit of an unknown, but he may be every bit as dangerous as Cruz is to Faber, and maybe more. Let’s take a look…
Barao is walking into the match with a 28 fight winning streak, and that is no joke. He lost his first documented fight, and has run off a remarkable streak, including 5 wins in a row in the WEC/UFC circuit.
Barao is 8 years younger than Faber at 25, and he brings equal the ring experience of ‘The California Kid’, who should be in the market for a new nickname. News, Faber ain’t a kid anymore, and that is to his disadvantage.
Barao is going to have a small height and a bigger reach advantage, and he is probably going to be faster. That is the thing with an athlete like Faber, who has always been very explosive throughout his career. Some of that precision and explosion goes away as you creep into your mid 30′s.
Faber has not chosen to wrestle in his recent bigger fights, using stand up as far back as the Mike Brown wars. That could change, as Faber may want to work from the top in this fight and avoid the standup. But can he do dmage to Barao on the floor?
On the ground Barao will continue to be dangerous, as roughly half his fights have ended in submission, and his training at Nova Uniao in Brazil gives him very solid Jiu Jitsu credentials.
The key to the whole fight might be gas, as it will be interesting to see how Barao handles the 4th and 5th championship rounds. We know Faber has been there before and though he tires, the wheel have not come off and he continues at a high level late in the fight.
It will be interesting to see where the lines come in on this fight. I doubt Faber is going to be an underdog to a relative unkown, which means you may find some value in this dog.