UFC 169 Opening Odds Breakdown: Bantamweights Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz

UFC-London UFC 169: ALDO VS. LAMAS Date: Feb. 1, 2014 Location: Newark, NJ Venue: Preudential Center Broadcast: PPV UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao (-305) Profile: The man with the longest unbeaten streak currently in MMA, UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao (31-1-1 NC) has forced the MMA world to take notice of his incredible skills. Starting his career throughout the independent companies in Brazil such as Shooto, Barao has dominated his competition with 31 wins and 21 finishes with one No-Contest in his last 32 fights. He made his Zuffa debut at WEC 49 in June of 2010 and since then has defeated every man put in his way. The 27-year-old Brazilian went 2-0 in the WEC and is currently 6-0 in the UFC, defeating Cole Escovedo (UFC 130), Brad Pickett (Fight of the Night at UFC 138), Scott Jorgensen (UFC 143) and Urijah Faber (UFC 149) en route to the interim bantamweight title. He defended the title for the first time against Michael McDonald at UFC on FUEL TV 7 in February and once again against Eddie Wineland with an amazing spinning back kick to Wineland’s skull at UFC 161. Barao has actually been bantamweight champion and defended the title more times than champ Dominick Cruz, who has been out of the Octagon for over two years with injuries to his surgically repaired knee. Finally, Barao got the call he’s been waiting for, and will get a chance to unify his belt with Cruz’s title. UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (+225) Profile: Dominick Cruz (19-1) was once considered the bantamweight kingpin, rising through the ranks of the WEC in impressive fashion, defeating everyone who stood in his way, including Urijah Faber (also the only man who has defeated him), Scott Jorgensen, Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez. Combat sport purists love watching Cruz’s beautiful footwork and and fantastic boxing, which he combines well with distance-creating kicks, complimented with good takedown skills and BJJ. Cruz was very much considered to be untouchable, even if he was criticized for his lack of finishing fights. His last battle was against the current flyweight champion, Mighty Mouse Johnson, which took place over two years ago at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson. While filming TUF against Urijah Faber, Cruz tore his ACL and has since had multiple complications with his surgery, which has kept him out of training at full capacity for nearly two years. Will Cruz be able to come back to the heights he once was? There’s no doubt he could be rusty, and the interim bantamweight champ, Renan Barao, is an absolute monster. Barao is Cruz’s toughest test at the most inopportune time in his career. This is what champions are made of. Opening UFC 169 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Barao a -305 favorite (bet $305 to win $100) while Cruz opened as a +225 underdog (bet $100 to win $225) at Several Bookmakers. Although Cruz is the actual champion, he has missed over two years of action due to injury and so it makes sense that Barao is the favorite coming into this fight. Cruz is an awesome fighter and was one of the best in the world pound-for-pound before his injuries, but I question how healthy he truly is and I couldn’t confidently lay any money on him against a killer like Barao. If Cruz can replicate his stick-and-move style that led him to achieve so much success in the past, he can pull off the upset, but I think it’s much more likely Barao is just too fast for him, and with all of his momentum at the moment, you can’t go against the Brazilian here.

Written by Adam Martin.

Leave a Reply

Watch Bellator 106: ‘Chandler vs Alvarez 2’ Preliminary Card Tonight (Nov. 2)

UFC 169 Opening Odds Breakdown: Featherweights Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas