On the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII, UFC fans knew where the party was at: Prudential Center in Newark, NJ! February 1st, fans were treated to a dual title fight evening at UFC 169.
This highly anticipated main card saw a bantamweight championship match, featherweight championship match, heavyweight match, flyweight bout, and a lightweight matchup.
Renan Barao def. Urijah Faber via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:42
In early January when it was announced that, due to injury, Dominick Cruz would be forced to abandon the bantamweight title, and instead Faber would meet Barao for the men’s bantamweight championship, the MMA world has been abuzz.
The match featured a lot of action from the very start. Both men came out with high energy, determination, and weren’t afraid to mix it up. They traded strikes, but it was soon clear that Barao had the upper hand. He landed one strike that Faber was able to recover from, however his second landed Faber on the ground and after several unanswered blows the referee called a stoppage to the match. Barao is now 34-1 continuing one of the longest unbeaten streaks in the UFC and MMA.
Jose Aldo def. Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Aldo has been dominant in the featherweight division and while Lamas was able to last the duration of the fight, as the score card shows it was a one-sided performance by Aldo. Aldo relied heavily on leg kicks to secure his 8th title defense. He has now beaten each of the top five challengers in his division.
Alistair Overeem def. Frank Mir via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This heavyweight battle did not fail to deliver. In a matchup that many expected to end in knockout, both men were able to go the distance. While Overeem clearly had the upperhand for much of the bout, he was unable to get the KO on a visibly gassed Mir. Mir ended the match bloodied and exhausted, but in the end Overeem earned this crucial victory, as it was likely a win or be cut situation for both men.
Ali Bagautinov def. John Lineker via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This matchup wasn’t won standing up as both men took to the ground using various locks, ground defense and wrangled on the floor for position. The crowd was treated with a little fun as Lineker tried to get a leg lock submission from Bagautinov who seemed unfazed and instead waved to the crowd as the match ended.
For Bagautinov, this makes him a top five contender in this flyweight division, and, all but, secures a chance at a title shot against Demetrious Johnson.
Abel Trujillo def. Jamie Varner via knockout (punch) - Round 2, 2:32
This Fight-of-the-Night winning matchup was action-packed right at the onset. In this lightweight bout Varner and Trujillo came out guns blazing. In round one, the fighters traded strikes then Trujillo found himself in a north-south choke but was able to escape.
Round two’s action saw the fighters exchanging hard punches. Varner was able to connect on a massive left hook and then unleash a flurry of unanswered blows, but Trujillo was able to recover. Once on his feet Varner continued to look for a KO but it was Trujillo who unleashed a monster right hook that put Varner out cold, face first in the Octagon and earned him a KOTN bonus.
What was your favorite match of the night? How would you have scored the fights differently? Do you think the stoppage during the bantamweight title fight was the right call? Share below in the comments!
See UFC Live Like a VIP
With the first title matchups of 2014 in the books, don’t miss your opportunity to see the champions defend their title!
Ronda Rousey will look to continue her undefeated streak and defend her women’s bantamweight championship against Sara McMann at UFC 170. Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will meet to claim the recently vacated welterweight championship at UFC 171. At UFC 172 Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight championship against Glover Teixeira.
Don’t miss your opportunity to be there! With UFC VIP Experience, get the ULTIMATE UFC experience. Official UFC VIP Experience Ticket Packages are available for UFC 170, UFC 171 and UFC 172, among others. These packages get you the best seats in the house, access to an exclusive VIP hospitality venue equipped with gourmet food, top shelf beverage options, interactive elements and fighter meet and greets. UFC VIP experience guests were able to meet Urijah Faber, Forrest Griffin, Phil Davis and more at past events.
Additionally, guests have the option to get insider access to behind the scenes UFC experiences such as tours of the Octagon, the opportunity to hold and take photos the championship belt, access to fighter weigh-ins, Q & As, rehearsal, sound checks and much more!