In what will undoubtedly go down as one of the most disappointing events in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s recent history, Renan Barao captured the interim bantamweight championship by winning a unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 twice) over Urijah Faber in Saturday’s UFC 149 main event at the Saddledome in Calgary.
Barao hooked up his betting supporters as a minus-200 favorite.
The main event was a better-than-decent fight but it didn’t provide enough fireworks to make up for the snoozers that preceded it.
Barao ran his career record to 29-1-1 by using a steady stream of kicks, knees and strikes that prevented the former World Extreme Cagefighting champ from closing the distance. One of those knees broke one of Faber’s ribs at some point in the first round.
On Monday, UFC President Dana White indicated that Barao would fight again instead of waiting for bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz to return to the Octagon in March after he recovers from an ACL tear.
As for Faber, he has now lost three consecutive title fights and you have to wonder if he’ll ever get another shot at the strap.
In the co-main event, Hector Lombard’s Octagon debut was a huge disappointment. The former Bellator middleweight champ dropped a split decision (29-28, 28-29 and 29-28) to Tim Boetsch, who improved to 4-0 in the 185-pound loop and hooked up his backers as a generous plus-300 underdog (paid $300 on $100 wagers).
Lombard was hesitant to engage and couldn’t take advantage of the fact that Boetsch sustained a broken foot when a kick landed on Lombard’s knee in the second round.
A source told VegasInsider.com that according to language in his UFC contract, a win by Lombard would’ve earned him a title shot against Anderson Silva. That’s obviously out the door now, while Boetsch is clearly ‘in the mix’ in the middleweight loop.
I backed Cheick Kongo in a pick ‘em matchup against Shawn Jordan that was the third fight on the pay-per-view card. Jordan took the fight against Kongo when Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was forced to pull out with an arm injury.
Although I enjoyed it because Kongo was clearly getting the better of things, this was an immensely boring fight that was spent against the cage with fighters engaging in a grappling battle that the referee refused to break up. (And ref Yves Lavigne took plenty of heat from Dana White at the post-fight presser.)
The judges scored it 30-27 twice and 30-28 to Kongo. Both fighters took heavy criticism from White afterward.
James Head won a split decision over Brian Ebersole (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) as a lucrative underdog in the plus-300 range, but this was another lackluster bout that left the fans disappointed.
The opener of the pay-per-view fights was the only one that didn’t go to the judges. Matthew Riddle took out Chris Clements with an arm-triangle choke at the 2:02 mark of the third stanza.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Dana White’s venom wasn’t limited to some of his fighters and the referees. He also joined the masses in being critical of the judges who gave Nick Ring a controversial unanimous-decision (29-28 three times) victory over Court McGee. VI had it 29-28 for McGee, who battered Ring in the final stanza while the ‘winner’ basically ran from the ‘loser’ for the duration of the final round.
--Ryan Jimmo won KO of the Night honors by tying the promotion’s record with a seven-second finish of Anthony Perosh on Saturday’s undercard.
--What’s the future of the middleweight division? Well, long-time champ Anderson Silva is coming off his second-round KO of Chael Sonnen. Chris Weidman just laid waste to Mark Munoz in an impressive performance that has him lobbying for an immediate title shot. We know that Brian Stann and Michael Bisping are set to collide in the co-main event at UFC 152. As for Vitor Belfort, he recently tweeted that he has requested to face Weidman in Brazil. And last but not least, Alan Belcher wants a shot at Belfort.
--The fight between Matt Mitrione and Rob Broughton has been taken off of next week’s UFC on Fox 4 card. Broughton pulled out due to personal matters. The promotion is currently trying to find a replacement to face Mitrione.