DOMINICK CRUZ WILL be forced to look on from the side-lines this weekend as Urijah Faber and Renan Barao do battle to see who will take his belt while he recovers from injury.
UFC 149 takes place in Calgary tonight and this event perhaps highlights the current injury jinx in the organisation best as the card had to re-drawn practically from top to bottom. The UFC match-makers have done a good job patching up the event however, with the long-awaited UFC debut of Hector Lombard and an exciting bout between Brian Ebersole and James Head to get us on the road before the main event.
Can Faber snap Barao’s incredible unbeaten streak?
Renan Barao currently holds one of the longest unbeaten streaks in MMA having beaten all of his twenty eight previous opponents. Had Dominick Cruz stayed fit, the Brazilian would have been next in line for a title shot anyway, but he has got there one fight sooner due to Cruz’s ACL injury.
Despite beating Scott Jorgensen last time out, Faber presents a big step up in class for Barao with the former WEC featherweight champ no stranger to title fights having had no less than eight championship fights or defences in his career.
Barao’s unbeaten streak is well respected however and he enters this bout as slight favourite and he will look to his lethal leg kicks and snappy jab to keep Faber at bay, just like he did last time out against Jorgensen. As always, Faber will be relentless in pushing the pace and coming forward looking to tie up Barao and possibly take him to the ground. While he is no slouch on his feet, the mat represents his best opportunity for victory for the California native and all his big game experience should be enough to see him scrape a decision.
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Middleweight contender Hector Lombard will look to enhance his credentials as a possible threat to Anderson Silva’s crown as he makes his UFC debut against tough veteran Tim Boetsch. Lombard has many spectacular KO and submission wins on his record and is unbeaten since 2006. Boetsch seemed to be nothing more than a journeyman when he was beaten by Phil Davis and UFC 123 but has since gone on to beat Nick Ring, Kendall Grove and most notably Yushin Okami last time out.
The stage is set nicely for Lombard to explode onto the UFC scene and while Boetsch is on a good run, the Cuban has too much in his armoury for “The Bararian.”
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Whether sporting uniquely shaped chest hair or trying crazy kicks, Brian Ebersole is always entertaining. Unlike most fighters with unusual gimmicks, Ebersole actually has the ability to perform as well and he is looking to move to 5-0 in the UFC with a win over James Head. Cheick Kongo will look to get back to winning ways but he has his work cut out against the strong up-and-comer Shawn Jordan while Chris Clements and Matt Riddle kick off the action on the main card.