Eddie Wineland Picks Urijah Faber to Upset Renan Barao

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IFebruary 1, 2014

Urijah Faber, left, hits Eddie Wineland during their mixed martial arts match at UFC 128  Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Faber won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Mel Evans/Associated Press

Former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland is picking Urijah Faber to score an upset and defeat UFC 135-pound titleholder Renan Barao at UFC 169 this evening.

Speaking with MMA Junkie, Wineland believes Faber has the advantage in the striking department and will be able to bring something to this fight he wasn't able to during their UFC 149 encounter in July 2012.

I think if Faber presses forward and doesn’t let him get his kicks off, he’ll win the striking. ... If Faber presses the issue and is either all in or all out, it’s going to nullify Barao’s kicks. ... I think it is possible for Faber to take him down, but I think it’s going to be extremely hard and he’ll have a hard time holding him there. ... I agree with Dana White that he’s in that Vitor Belfort zone where he’s getting older, but he’s getting better. His last couple fights, you look at [Michael] McDonald, he’s ranked No. 3 right now. He just ran right through like McDonald didn’t even matter. He just ran right through him, and that was a big statement.

Wineland lost a lopsided decision to "The California Kid" at UFC 128 in March 2011 and also came up short in a title bout against Barao at UFC 165 in September when he lost via second-round TKO. 

The 29-year-old has since bounced back with a blistering knockout over Yves Jabouin at UFC on FOX 10 last week. 

Barao enters tonight's title bout on the strength of an incredible 32-fight unbeaten streak, only tasting defeat in his professional mixed martial arts debut back in April 2005. 

Meanwhile, Faber has been on a tear since the loss to Barao, scoring four straight dominant victories (three coming by way of submission) and making it impossible to deny him another crack at UFC gold. 

Most recently, as Wineland noted, the Team Alpha Male standout ran through No. 3 bantamweight in the world Michael McDonald at UFC on FOX 9 in December, tapping out the young prospect with his patented guillotine choke in the second round. 

Will Faber be able to improve on his 0-5 record in title fights since November 2008, or will "The Baron" again prove he is a cut above the rest at 135 pounds? 

UFC 169 takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., with the preliminary bouts airing on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. 


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.