Renan Barao (left) faced Eddie Wineland at UFC 165 for Barao's interim bantamweight title.
UFC 165 went down Saturday night in Toronto. In the co-main event, interim champion Renan Barao defended his belt against underdog challenger Eddie Wineland.
Wineland started strong, using various types of feints to avoid Barao's deadly striking game and keep the champ guessing. In fact, a case could easily be made that Wineland won the opening round.
Less than 30 seconds into the second stanza, however, Barao rendered the case moot with a spinning back kick that landed hard on Wineland's skull. A few academic ground strikes later and Barao had a TKO victory. After the fight, UFC president Dana White announced Barao had received a $50,000 bonus for the Knockout of the Night. It was Barao's second consecutive post-fight bonus; in February he took home a Submission of the Night bonus for his arm triangle choke on Michael McDonald.
In addition, the win further cemented Barao as the best bantamweight MMA fighter in the world, perhaps even above lineal champ Dominick Cruz, who has been out of action for about two years following surgeries to repair a torn ACL. Barao, 26, is now unbeaten over his past 32 fights, a streak spanning more than eight years. Barao is also a perfect 6-0 in the UFC Octagon.
It is unclear what the future may hold for Barao. Cruz recently stated he would be ready to return to action in early 2014. At the same time, however, White has said he might strip Cruz of the title if he cannot adhere to that schedule. Both Barao and Cruz have openly expressed a desire to meet in a title unification bout. The two have never fought.
While the situation with Cruz remains fluid, the most obvious option for another title defense might be Urijah Faber. However, Faber lost to Barao in July 2012 when the two fought for the bantamweight strap. Brazilian Raphael Assuncao could be another possibility.
Did you miss the fight Saturday night? We have you covered. Here is a package of video highlights courtesy of our friends at Fox Sports.