Following another Dominick Cruz injury, Urijah Faber stepped up and took a rematch with Renan Barao at UFC 169 on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
Since losing to Barao at UFC 149, Faber rattled off four straight wins, submitting former title challengers Michael McDonald and Scott Jorgensen along the way. While he's had many chances to regain a championship, Faber did more than enough to truly earn his shot at the bantamweight strap.
Meanwhile, Barao defended his interim belt twice since earning it with his victory over Faber. Due to Cruz's long period of inactivity, Barao was promoted to undisputed champion ahead of his rematch with "The California Kid" at UFC 169.
As told by Twitter, here is how the Barao vs. Faber matchup unfolded.
Urijah Faber out to his signature tune 'California Love' by Tupac and Dr. Dre. Got nothing on Barao's walkout #UFC169— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) February 2, 2014
Herb Dean is your ref and Ricardo Almeida (ex-fighter), Eric Colon and Cardo Urso are your judges.— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 2, 2014
It's been over five years since Faber owned a championship, but he still draws more attention than many current UFC champions. Barao's name is growing as he beats fighters like Faber, but The California Kid was the biggest star to compete on the UFC 169 fight card.
Faber with a wild spinning-back fist after a scramble, misses badly, but he smiles. Awesome. #UFC169— Hunter Alek Homistek (@HunterAHomistek) February 2, 2014
Barao knocked down faber, did some GNP and now Faber is up but hurt— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 2, 2014
Barao with another overhand right, and that's it. Faber was blocking the punches, but the ref stopped the fight anyway.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) February 2, 2014
One of the more durable fighters in MMA, Faber had not been stopped since his November 2008 bout with Mike Brown heading into Saturday. Barao, meanwhile, stopped McDonald and Eddie Wineland in back-to-back outings prior to the weekend's rematch.
With a huge overhand right in the first round, Barao dropped Faber and finished with hammerfists. Faber protested the stoppage, stating that he gave referee Herb Dean a thumbs up moments before the fight was stopped.
Following Dean's call, plenty of opinions were shared on Twitter regarding the decision.
An overwhelming majority of MMA personalities felt the stoppage came early. Based on the way things were going, though, it did appear Barao was on his way to victory. The Brazilian landed 37 strikes, while Faber answered with nine over nearly four minutes of action.
Wow. Barao wins via first round stoppage. I think that was premature.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 2, 2014
Horrible stop— Chuck Liddell (@ChuckLiddell) February 2, 2014
Always a bridesmaid... Never a bride— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) February 2, 2014
Herb Dean, you are too experienced to fall for the old 'I'm looking at you, therefore you must stop this fight' trick.— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) February 2, 2014
Dammmm that a championship fight, got to let it go a little longer!— Cung Le (@CungLe185) February 2, 2014
Early ... #UFC169— Zachary Makovsky (@ZachFunSize) February 2, 2014
Urijah Faber joins Chael Sonnen, Kenny Florian, and Pedro Rizzo as only fighters in UFC history to go 0-3 in UFC title fights— Jason Floyd (@Jason_Floyd) February 2, 2014