On Saturday, July 21, Renan Barao beat Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to earn the UFC interim bantamweight title. Barao's victory capped off a rather odd UFC 149 main card that featured Hector Lombard's lackluster debut and another refereeing mistake by Josh Rosenthal.
Here are three thoughts on the event:
Josh Rosenthal nearly blows it
Matt Riddle pulled out a brilliant arm triangle submission in the third round, but he might have earned the victory sooner if referee Josh Rosenthal hadn't mistaken a liver kick for a groin kick early in the fight. The referee's decision to briefly stop the match after the kick landed on Chris Clements prevented Riddle from going after his hurt opponent.
It's an embarrassment for Rosenthal to be in a perfect position to see the kick and still miss where the kick landed. When you consider that this fight marks the second time in less than two weeks that Rosenthal has made a mistake on a UFC card, it might be time for him to take some time off.
Hector Lombard's debut
There's only one word to describe former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard's UFC debut: disappointing. We can argue that Lombard beat Tim Boestch all night long, but there are few people out there that can say that he put on a good performance on at UFC 149. In the end, Lombard went home with a well-deserved loss on his record.
Lombard was given the perfect opponent for his debut, and he still failed to live up to expectations for this fight. While Boetsch worked to find his openings, Lombard stood flatfooted in front of his opponent. He moved forward but with little head movement and no aggression. That's not what I would expect out of someone who was thought to be potential challenger for the UFC middleweight title.
Renan Barao earns his title
Most fans believed that Renan Barao would beat Urijah Faber, but I don't think anyone thought that he would dominate the former featherweight champion like he did. Faber had no answers for Barao's dynamic striking game throughout the entire fight. Barao used his leg kicks to keep Faber at a distance while shoving away every takedown attempt from his opponent. He battered Faber's left leg and rendered him ineffective for 25 minutes. In short, Barao was completely dominant and deserves credit for dismantling a worthy adversary like Faber. I can't wait to see him face Dominick Cruz when the champion returns. It'll be a great fight.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.