UFC 149: Why Victory Puts Renan Barao on the Map

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UFC 149: Why Victory Puts Renan Barao on the Map
Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

If you didn't know Renan Barao before last night, odds are that you probably do now.

Barao, who hadn't lost a fight since his debut in April 2005, defeated Urijah Faber at UFC 149 to earn the UFC interim bantamweight belt on Saturday night.

According to ESPN's Franklin McNeil, the judges scored in favor of Barao, 49-46, 50-45 and 49-46, who was effective with his leg kicks and reportedly (via Yahoo! Sports) broke Faber's rib in the first round:

This was Barao's first promotional fight, but he undoubtedly made his presence known throughout the UFC last night. So much so that it has MMA fans and writers already wondering who his next opponent will be, according to MMA Weekly.

I think the majority of fans would drool at the thought of seeing Barao take on Dominick Cruz. However, Cruz is sidelined with a torn ACL at the moment, and he probably won't be back until at least summer 2013.

Obviously, Barao isn't going to wait that long to defend his title. He has made it known that he's willing to fight whenever: “I’m a player of the UFC, I fight whenever I’m asked to," he said, via MMA Weekly.

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Barao's performance last night was so impressive that he had UFC President Dana White raving about the fight, as evidenced by this tweet:

Aside from earning a belt in his first promotional fight, Barao broke his opponent's rib in the first round of the fight, which should help to get his name out there.

It shouldn't be long before Barao defends his title. And my guess is that a lot more people will be tuning in to that one. 

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