Former WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber and Brazilian phenom Renan Barao are set to meet in the main event of UFC's first-ever event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship will be on the line.
Faber is looking to become the first man to defeat Barao in the UFC, while simultaneously earning himself a trilogy match with longtime rival and current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Barao is looking to extend his unbeaten streak to 30 fights and to show the world that he is an elite bantamweight, capable of competing with the best.
There is tons at stake in what is the biggest bantamweight fight of the year so far. Let's take a look at the different ways this fight could play out.
Barao has shown more than competent grappling skills in the Octagon, but he has never faced a takedown artist like Faber.
The NCAA Division I standout has made a career out of bringing his opponents to the mat and dominating them from top position.
There is a chance we will find out quickly in this fight that Faber is head and shoulders above Barao in the grappling department and the young challenger will be planted on his butt all night long.
Since entering the UFC, Barao has looked nearly untouchable on the feet. No one has been able to match his speed. His power is intimidating. His arsenal is diverse.
Faber's striking is no joke either, but he historically has had problems with diverse strikers who move well.
Though Faber is known for having a solid chin, he has been put away before, and a fighter's chin only gets weaker as their career progresses.
Faber can be a lot to deal with from the top position.
Barao seems like a durable opponent, no doubt, but five rounds is a long time to have Faber on top you, punching you in the face.
Even if he doesn't necessarily rock Barao, it's possible that Faber could gain a dominant position and rain down punches until the referee is forced to stop the fight. Goodness knows elite wrestlers are tough to shake when they find a position they like.
Like I said, Faber is a tough man to put away.
Current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, a man known in particular for his finishing ability, was unable to finish Faber when they fought, even after battering him for five full rounds.
While I wouldn't say that Barao's striking is on Aldo's level, most agree that he has a style that will give Faber trouble.
It wouldn't be surprising the see this fight play out with Barao outpointing Faber standing, but being unable to finish the MMA legend off.
While we're talking about might happen, let's talk about what probably won't.
Neither fighter has ever been submitted and UFC 149 likely won't be the first time we see either man tap out.
Both have such strong submission abilities that I see them cancelling each other out. Barao might have a slight jiu-jitsu advantage, but Faber should be able to neutralize that with superior wrestling.
It is possible that one fighter might catch a submission after rocking their opponent with strikes, but it's one of the more unlikely outcomes.