UFC 149 is in the books, with an interim Bantamweight Champion being crowned and…not much else. Let’s recap anyways:
Another Division on Hold?
Renan Barao outworked Urijah Faber for five rounds en route to a unanimous decision win. He kept “The California Kid” out of range for the entirety of the fight and got the better of him in most exchanges. Faber’s now 0-5 in his last five title fights, but I’ll focus more on him in a later article.
For now let’s talk about Barao. He’s a great fighter, but his pre-fight comments regarding how he’d handle the interim belt kind of rubbed me the wrong way. While Faber said that he’d stay active until Cruz is ready, Barao went the opposite route, saying that he’d wait for the champion to return.
I’m not a fan of this approach. I didn’t like interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit waiting for Georges St-Pierre, because the 170 pound division has plenty of great fighters, and waiting would just create a bigger logjam. It’s not that 135 has any less talent, but the fighters are considerably less marketable. Giving a fighter like Michael McDonald a chance to fight for the belt would be a great promotional opportunity for him as well as the weight class.
At the end of the day it’s totally up to Barao, but I hope that he seriously reconsiders his stance and takes another fight or two while Cruz rehabs.
Underachieving with Low Expectations
Leading up to tonight, every main card fight had been altered since originally being announced. While the interest and PPV buys suffered (Buffalo Wild Wings was a ghost town by main event time, which I’ve never seen on fight night; many left early), the card was still expected to deliver. They always do.
But last night was a serious letdown, made even worse by a pretty stellar prelims. All but one of the five fights went to a decision and all four were pretty unspectacular. Fighters that usually entertain, like Cheick Kongo, Hector Lombard, and Tim Boetsch were too tentative and looked more concerned with not losing than winning.
I’m not placing blame on anyone here, because bad cards happen from time to time. This effects of this bad card are just magnified by the multiple injuries and changes leading up to it.
- I have to talk about Ryan Jimmo. His seven-second knockout of Anthony Perosh was a thing of beauty. The perfect way to make your UFC debut, if I’ve ever seen one (Lombard, take notes). He likely earned himself a main card spot for his next fight. People will want to see his next fight, though it will likely take longer than climbing stairs. The ESPN Top 10 Plays spot didn’t hurt either.
- Same goes for Matthew Riddle, but for different reasons.He won via arm triangle choke, but his post-fight banter was pretty enjoyable, during which he requested a match with Dan Hardy that he’ll likely be granted. He was professional, yet easy-going and accessible, which will greatly help visibility should he continue to win.