UFC 148 Opening Odds: Bantamweights Urijah Faber (-115) vs. Renan Barao (-115)

UFC 148: July 7, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada (Interim Bantamweight Title) Click to watch videoUrijah Faber (-115) Profile: Faber (26-5) has gone 2-1 in the UFC since transitioning over from the WEC, and his only loss during that stretch came to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz  in their title match at UFC 132 last July 2.  The 33-year-old from Sacramento has lost in his last four attempts at winning a championship, previously competing in three WEC featherweight title fights and losing to Jose Aldo and Mike Brown twice.  He got the rematch against Cruz with a second-round submission of Brian Bowles via guillotine choke at UFC 139 last November 19, which would have been the third meeting after Faber beat him five years ago at WEC 26.  He earned Submission of the Night honors in his win over Bowles, and his last meeting with Cruz earned Fight of the Night. Renan Barao (-115) Profile: Barao (28-1, 1 No-Contest) has won his last 18 bouts, with a No-Contest the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record since he suffered his lone loss in his first career fight against Joao Paulo in 2005.   The 25-year-old Brazilian is 3-0 in the UFC with unanimous decision wins over Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143 on February 4 and Cole Escovedo at UFC 130 last May 28.  Barao’s other UFC win was a first-round submission of Brad Pickett via rear-naked choke at UFC 138 last November 5.  He also submitted both opponents he faced in the WEC (Chris Cariaso and Anthony Leone), two of 13 submissions overall in his career to go along with six knockouts. Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made this a pick’em fight with Faber and Barao each sitting at -115 (bet $115 to win 100) according to his opening UFC 148 odds.  Faber will get a much tougher opponent than he anticipated for the interim title, as he reportedly thought he would be facing Ivan Menjivar. Instead, he will meet a very dangerous fighter in Barao, who does not have a lot of elite experience and remains one of the UFC’s biggest mysteries.  Will Barao live up to his outstanding record and become the top contender to challenge Cruz when he recovers from knee surgery?  Or will Faber rise to the occasion and show Barao that he is the one who truly deserves another shot at Cruz after capturing interim title?  Faber has built a great personal rivalry with Cruz, and he will likely need to step up and put together one of the best performances of his life to fight him again.  Keep in mind, these are the No. 2 and No. 3 bantamweight fighters in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings.

Written by Matty

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