As expected, UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber will battle Renan Barao at UFC 148 with divisional gold on the line as part of a match-up meant to determine an interim championship. Current title-holder Dominick Cruz is currently sidelined until early 2013 with a torn ACL.
The official announcement of Barao-Faber went down on last night’s episode of the Ultimate Fighter.
“Now that I have someone to focus on and game plan, for it gets me motivated. (My training) will definitely change. (Cruz and Barao) are polar opposites,” said Faber of his new opponent. “Barao is a guy that starts hard, and looks for the finish right away, but seems to fade a little bit as the fight goes on. Dominick is really tricky, has great conditioning and is always looking to out point in a long fight. I’m a good combination of those two put together – I’m dangerous and I thrive in long fights.”
Barao’s name had been associated with the bout since the need to create an interim strap first arose, receiving credit from Faber as the most-deserving 135er out there. He holds an overall record of 28-1 and hasn’t lost since his professional debut in 2005. Over that span he’s finished nineteen of his opponents and racked up five wins under the Zuffa banner including those against Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
By comparison, though Faber does not have the momentum of Barao’s impressive winning streak behind him he’s still considered to be one of the best bantamweights in the sport. The 33-year old fan-favorite is 26-5 in his career and is coming off a second-round submission victory over former champ Brian Bowles.
UFC 148 is scheduled for July 7 and features a headlining tilt between middleweight king Anderson Silva and fierce rival Chael Sonnen.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC