UFC 161: June 15, 2013 MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao (-365) Profile: The man with the longest current unbeaten streak in MMA, UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao (30-1-1), has forced the MMA world to take notice. With his early career taking him throughout the independent companies in Brazil such as Shooto, Barao has dominated his competition with 30 wins and 20 finishes with one No-Contest in his last 31 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 26-year-old Brazilian went 2-0 in the WEC and is currently 5-0 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 is hoping to unify the championships by facing champ Dominick Cruz by the end of the 2013. However, Cruz is still recovering from another serious knee injury, setting back that title unification bout and giving former WEC champ Eddie Wineland the next crack at the interim belt. UFC Bantamweight Contender Eddie Wineland (+255) Profile: Although he is not one of the bigger names in the bantamweight division, Eddie Wineland (20-8-1) is a forefather of the sub-lightweight classes. Wineland became the first WEC bantamweight champion at WEC 20 in May of 2006, which he quickly lost in his first defense to Chase Beebe, but he has since carved out a name for himself in the last half-decade. The 28-year-old has gone 8-3 in his last 11 fights, hovering around the top of the WEC/UFC bantamweight food chain and currently sitting at No. 4 in the MMAOB MMA fighter rankings. With Dominick Cruz out for an indefinite amount of time, the UFC has called upon Wineland to be the next to challenge Barao for his once-defended strap. Wineland is a great kickboxer in MMA and holds impressive power for a 135er. He has 10 knockouts among his 20 wins with a solid wrestling game as well. Wineland has won two straight after losing two in a row following the UFC’s merger with the WEC, defeating Scott Jorgensen via KO and earning a split-decision victory against Brad Pickett at UFC 155 to close out 2012. Opening UFC 161 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made the champ Barao a big -365 favorite (bet $365 to win $100) while the challenger Wineland opened as a +255 underdog (bet $100 to win $255) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. Barao turned in a fairly impressive performance against McDonald in defending the interim bantamweight title for the first time. He opened as a bigger favorite here than in that fight (-260) and continues to grow into one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. Wineland is a more seasoned opponent than McDonald and seems to be on the upswing again after a rough start to his UFC career. He shares recent common opponents with Barao, as both have previously defeated Jorgensen and Pickett, albeit in different fashion. Wineland has knockout power like McDonald and similar size that could give Barao problems. However, Barao has certainly proven he can handle a variety of bantamweight contenders during his incredible 31-fight unbeaten streak, whether they are big or small, experienced or inexperienced. He will continue to fight whoever is next in line until Cruz returns and must remain focused on his ultimate goal of unifying the titles. Of course Wineland would love nothing more than to play spoiler and get his first crack at the UFC bantamweight champ, taking the interim belt away from Barao in the process.