UFC 169 Opening Odds Breakdown: Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber

UFC-FUEL UFC 169: BARAO VS. FABER 2 Date: Feb 2. 2014 Location: Prudential Center — Newark, N.J. Broadcast: PPV UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao (-270) Profile: The man with the longest unbeaten streak currently in MMA, UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao (31-1-1) 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. It looked like finally, Barao would get a chance to unify his title with Cruz at UFC 169, but Cruz would once again get injured, then be forced to vacate the bantamweight title and have it awarded to Renan Barao. He is no longer the interim champion, but the full-blown reigning, defending undisputed champion who will face Faber once again at UFC 169 in a rematch. UFC Bantamweight Contender Urijah Faber (+190) Profile: “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (30-6) has a long and storied career as one of the forefathers of the featherweight division. The longtime face of the WEC has made a mostly successful transition to the UFC’s bantamweight division, defeating Eddie Wineland in his UFC debut at UFC 128 before losing his hyped rematch with Dominick Cruz at UFC 132. However, the 34-year-old MMA veteran rebounded by quickly taking out former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles at UFC 139 with his oft-used guillotine choke. Faber went on to coach opposite of Cruz on The Ultimate Fighter and was expected to meet him for the third time, but Cruz tore his ACL and temporarily left him without an opponent. He ended up fighting rising star Renan Barao for the interim title instead and was dominated en route to losing a unanimous decision. However, he bounced back nicely from that setback with a possible Fighter of the Year bid in 2013, going 4-0 with a standing RNC over Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157, a RNC finish of his former teammate Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 finale, a dominating decision win over Iuri Alcantara at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen, and to cap off 2013, a brilliant guillotine win over the contender Michael McDonald at at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Benavidez. Faber said that his flat performance against Barao the first time around was due to a broken rib, and he’s a new man now. With Team Alpha Male reaching new heights with their coach Duane Ludwig, Faber has looked fantastic, and that should make his third title fight in the last four years very exciting. Opening UFC Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Barao a -270 betting favorite (bet $270 to win $100), while Faber opened as a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $4190) at Several Bookmakers. This is of course a rematch of the pair’s first fight at UFC 149 which Barao won via lopsided unanimous decision, but it’s a different fight this time around and it’s hard to say how much we can take away from that first fight knowing Faber suffered a broken rib in the first round of it. Yes, Barao has looked unstoppable in his UFC run, but Faber looked unstoppable in 2013 and it’s obvious that “The California Kid” is peaking right now. Still, even though he’s peaking it might not matter as Barao is extremely well-rounded and it’s not clear what holes, if any, he has in his game that Faber can exploit. Thus, Barao opens as a good-sized favorite here. It makes sense that Barao is favored by this much considering what happened the first time the pair met, but don’t count out Faber in this rematch, and don’t be shocked if he finally gets his hands on UFC gold this February.

Written by Adam Martin.

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