Renan Barao defeated Eddie Wineland by TKO in the second round to retain the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 165.
WOW @RenanBaraoUFC defends his belt with the most impressive win of his career yet - spinning back-kick KO win in the 2nd!— UFC (@ufc) September 22, 2013
The fighters went through a mostly uneventful first round, trading strikes that went nowhere. Wineland actually had the upper hand for most of the round, although it could have been scored either way on the scorecards.
But just seconds into the second round, Barao made sure the fight wouldn't make it to the judges. Standing in a cocked pose, he went for a spinning back kick to the chest, only for Wineland to duck into the blow and get struck in the face. Barao then pounced on his staggered opponent, finishing him off with quick blows as the referee called off the fight.
Barao took advantage of the spotlight that comes with being on the undercard of a Jon Jones title fight to showcase his dominance in the bantamweight division. He has been unstoppable since arriving to the UFC and is on a run that's lasted much longer than that.
The 26-year-old Brazilian dropped his first career MMA fight to Joao Paulo Rodrigues de Souza but hasn't lost since, for a span of 32 bouts. The only blemish during that tremendous ongoing stretch was a no-contest against Claudemir Souza.
Barao has established himself as one of the sport's most promising stars in the process. He proved that once again by defending his interim title.
It marked his fourth straight notable win after he previously knocked off Scott Jorgensen, Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald. Any questions about his ability to stay at the top should be eliminated after that impressive run of results.
The latest came over a veteran challenger in Wineland, who earned a title shot after two straight solid showings against Jorgensen and Brad Pickett.
Before those wins, the American had lost two straight fights and found himself at a key turning point in his career. With so much competitiveness within the division, any type of extended losing streak can cause a fighter to slide down the ladder quickly.
Luckily for Wineland, he showed off his power in a second-round knockout of Jorgensen to move himself in the right direction. The result was a shot at the interim title, but he just couldn't capitalize on the opportunity.
He deserved the shot, but Barao is just on another level right now, as his long winning streak and pair of title defenses show.
The interim champion has conquered every fighter thrown his way since joining the UFC. As it stands now, it doesn't appear he will be seriously challenged until Dominick Cruz is back to full strength. The champion has missed nearly two years due to an ACL injury.
While Cruz continues to work toward his return, Barao clearly remains in firm control of the bantamweight division.