The current Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao lost his MMA debut. In April of 2005, in his native Brazil, Barao fought Joao Paulo Rodrigues de Souza for 15 minutes at Heat FC 3. “JPRDS” walked away with a unanimous decision. Since losing that first fight, Barao has won every fight since; with one No Contest due to an illegal soccer kick by his opponent. Renan fought 25 times in his home country of Brazil before making his international debut at WEC 49.
In his World Extreme Cagefighting debut he faced Anthony Leone in a 142lb catchweight and won by third round armbar. 6 months later he submitted Chris Cariaso at WEC 53 with a rear naked choke. Soon after the Cariaso victory the WEC was folded into the UFC and Barao made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut against Cole Escovedo at UFC 130 in Las Vegas. He was initially supposed to face Demetrious Johnson; however an injury to Brad Pickett forced a shake-up of the fight card. Barao won by unanimous decision and then defeated Brad Pickett by first round submission in his next fight. For the Pickett fight, Barao earned Fight of the Night honors.
After the Pickett win, Barao faced Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143. He won by unanimous decision. After an injury to Dominick Cruz, Barao’s intended #1 Contender bout with Ivan Menjivar was scuttled and instead he was given a shot to earn the Interim Bantamweight strap in a bout with perennial title contender Urijah Faber. Faber vs. Barao headlined UFC 149 and after 25 minutes of fighting, Renan Barao walked away with the Interim Belt and the unanimous decision.
Barao defended his interim belt 6 months later against Michael McDonald in another headline appearance at UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald. In a Submission of the Night award winning performance, Barao finished McDonald with an arm triangle choke four minutes into the fourth round. Barao’s second defense of the interim title at UFC 161 was scrapped after a foot injury sidelined the interim champ. The fight has been rescheduled for September 21st, 2013. Barao will be facing Eddie Wineland, the inaugural bantamweight champion of the WEC. Wineland is a two time Knockout of the Night winner and a one time Fight of the Night winner. The victor of Saturday’s bout will be expected to face the returning champion, Dominick Cruz in early 2014.
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