UFC 165 Date: September 21, 2013 Arena: Air Canada Centre City: Toronto, Ontario, Canada Interim Bantamweight Championship bout: Renan Barao (-700) vs Eddie Wineland (+500) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event of UFC 165 will be a bantamweight war for the division’s interim title when champion Renan Barao takes on challenger Eddie Wineland. Barao is currently a very big favorite in this match-up at -700 ($700 to win $100), with the return on the big underdog Wineland being a whopping +500 ($100 to win $500) at Several Bookmakerss. RENAN BARAO (30-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) beat Uriah Faber for the UFC’s interim bantamweight title at UFC 149 in July of last year. He has since made one successful title defense against Michael “Mayday” MacDonald, which came via fourth round arm-triangle submission victory on a UFC on Fuel TV show seven months ago. With the UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz still sidelined, the interim champ has a new challenger in WEC/UFC veteran Eddie Wineland. Into his second interim title defense, Barao is riding an immensely impressive 30-fight win streak, which began after losing his first professional mixed martial arts bout via decision. Training out of the Nova Uniao camp in Brazil, Barao has some of the best coaches and training partners in the sport. Some of his training partners include UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo, Bellator bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas, plus veterans Marlon Sandro, Wagney Fabiano, Marcos Galvao, and Hacran Dias. The 26-year old Brazilian is a very talented striker who has great movement and likes to fight in a technical style that does not only score points but also inflicts significant damage to his opponents. Barao is by no means a point fighter, he is always looking for openings for a finish and opportunities to pounce. He can take an opponents back in a heartbeat if he see’s a split-second of an opening. Barao’s striking defense is excellent too, as the Brazilian is not an easy target to hit. If a fight with him goes to the ground, it is likely because he wants it there. Barao has tremendous takedown defense but I don’t think Wineland will be offering much of a takedown-threat. I think he will look to keep the fight on the feet and box with Barao. The Nova Uniao product’s conditioning has been improving from fight to fight so I have no doubt that he will be able to go hard for all twenty-five minutes of action. EDDIE WINELAND (20-8 MMA, 2-2 UFC) will be going into this championship match-up riding a two-fight win streak that saw him knock-out Scott Jorgensen and outpoint Brad Pickett in what was an entertaining fight. By giving Jorgensen the first knockout loss of his career, Wineland proved to have serious dynamite in his hands. That knockout was the tenth in his 20-win career; he is dangerous with his hands and is definitely a finisher. Much like his opponent Renan Barao, while Wineland likes to fight technically, he does not look to score points; he looks for the finish. The 29-year old Indiana native moves well on the feet and is a very good boxer. He has truly sharpened his boxing skills, fights technically and lands crisp, clean punches. Another part of his game Wineland has really tightened up is his defensive wrestling which has seen huge improvements in his takedown defense. His offensive wrestling is good, though he does not usually try to wrestle. Dominick Cruz was the bantamweight champ in the WEC so when the UFC opened up it’s bantamweight division and brought the WEC fighters overs, Cruz kept his title and became UFC bantamweight champ. The point I’m making here is that if you consider the UFC/WEC bantamweight division as one under the Zuffa banner, then Eddie Wineland was technically the first ever UFC bantamweight champion, since he was the first ever WEC bantamweight champion. Wineland’s cardio has been a slight concern throughout his career but it has been improving and I expect to see more improvement in that department this time out. I expect him to be able to go twenty five minutes without running out of gas. He might be clearly tired, but he will have enough in him to stay in the fight. Fight Prediction: I think this fight will be a lot closer than most people are anticipating. That said, I think Barao will manage to do enough to win more rounds. Most people also see Barao getting a finish, and while that is a very legitimate possibility, I don’t see it playing it out that way a majority of the time. Gabe’s Pick: Renan Barao by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) Gabe’s Recommended Plays: Over 2.5 rounds -130 and Renan Barao by Decision +345, Fight Starts Round 3 -150, Fight Starts Round 4 +110 — I think Barao should be -300 here on the moneyline, so I couldn’t justify a play on him at -700. That said, I think he wins this fight by decision more often than he gets a finish, so Barao by Decision +340 is the play simply because it holds a tremendous amount of value. I think that line should be -190 and we’re getting it for +340.