On Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, the UFC 149 card culminated in the main event, a bantamweight fight between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao for the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship.
The first round was an extended feeling-out process, but both fighters kept active and pushed the pace, which was an extremely welcome change for the live crowd, which had just sat through two very plodding bouts. Faber, who fights out of Sacramento, kept changing his stance and did a good job avoiding leg kicks and repeated attempts at spinning heel kicks from Barao.
The second round began much the same as the first, but by midway through Round 2, it was clear that Barao was in control. He was more comfortable, was landing more shots and was the aggressor. Faber got caught with several hard leg kicks and a big combination at the end of the round.
Round 3 was where the action truly began to intensify. Both fighters landed key shots, but Barao's were more vicious and came with much greater frequency. Faber's left leg began to swell from Barao's leg kicks and both attempted takedowns by Faber in the round were easily stuffed. At the end of the round, Faber looked winded and appeared to be fighting hurt.
The fourth round was a less-intense version of the third round, as Barao continued to establish his dominance and Faber continued to look hurt and like he had no answer for his opponent's offense. As the fifth round began, it was clear that Faber needed a knockout or submission to have any chance at winning.
Faber did not come out swinging for the fences in Round 5 and was held at bay for most of the final five minutes. Barao resorted to holding his left arm straight out in front of him, which Faber would engage mindlessly. Faber finally tried a couple of superman punches and a brief flurry, but nothing found purchase.
The fight went to the judges' scorecards, which unsurprisingly resulted in a unanimous decision for Barao to award him the UFC interim bantamweight title.
Here are the full results of Saturday night's UFC 149 event from Calgary:
Bantamweight bout: Renan Barao (29-1, 1 NC) def. Urijah Faber (26-6) via unanimous decision, 49-46, 50-45, 49-46
Middleweight bout: Tim Boetsch (16-4) def. Hector Lombard (31-3-1, 1 NC) via decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Heavyweight bout: Cheick Kongo (18-7-2) def. Shawn Jordan (13-4) via unanimous decision, 30-28, 30-27, 30-27
Welterweight bout: James Head (9-2) def. Brian Ebersole (50-15-1, 1 NC) via split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Welterweight bout: Matt Riddle (7-3) def. Chris Clements (11-5) via submission (arm triangle) in 2:02 of Round 3
Preliminary Card (FX)
Middleweight bout: Nick Ring (13-1) def. Court McGee (13-3) via unanimous decision, 29-28. 29-28, 29-28
Bantamweight bout: Francisco Rivera (9-2) def. Roland Delorme (8-2) via KO (punches) in 4:19 of Round 1
Light heavyweight bout: Ryan Jimmo (17-1) def. Anthony Perosh (13-7) via KO (punch) in 0:07 of Round 1
Bantamweight bout: Bryan Caraway (17-5) def. Mitch Gagnon (9-2) via submission (rear-naked choke) in 1:39 of Round 3
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
Featherweight bout: Antonio Carvalho (14-5) def. Daniel Pineda (17-9) via KO (punches) in 1:11 of Round 1
Lightweight bout: Anton Kuivanen (17-5) def. Mitch Clarke (9-2) via split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28