After watching his buddy, Jose Aldo, roll to a one-sided victory over Ricardo Lamas in a featherweight title fight, the pressure was on Renan Barao to do the same.
But Barao did his Nova Uniao teammate one better, finishing Urijah Faber with strikes at 3:42 of the first round Saturday to retain the bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 169 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Barao dropped Faber twice with strong right hands, finishing him after the second with strikes on the ground. The bout ended with a tinge of controversy because Faber had given referee Herb Dean a thumbs up to indicate he was fine just seconds before Dean stopped it.
Faber had his left hand guarding his head and was holding Barao's leg, but Dean didn't see the gesture and jumped in to halt the fight.
Barao became the undisputed champion last month, being elevated from interim champion when Dominick Cruz was injured and had to pull out of the fight. The UFC stripped Cruz, raised Barao to full champion and signed Faber to meet Barao.
Faber had success early, but Barao's power had him in trouble.
"He's a tough guy and very resilient," said Barao, who said he was a little surprised at the stoppage.
Faber said Dean told him to "do something" and that's why he gave the thumbs up.
"It's very frustrating because I'm one of the most durable guys in the world," Faber said of the stoppage. "You get caught with punches, man. [Dean] told me to do something so I gave him a thumbs up underneath there right before I stopped it. Herb is a great referee. I just wish I had more of a chance."
In the co-main, Aldo did what has become routine for him since he was awarded the UFC title: He beat up Lamas in one-sided manner, punishing him with leg kicks and making it look easy in the process.
Aldo improved his record to 6-0 in UFC title fights by winning 49-46 on all three judges' scorecards. Aldo took the first four rounds and then Lamas captured the fifth.
Lamas showed a great amount of grit, but he was never able to solve Aldo. Aldo blasted him repeatedly with a left hand to the body and then a blistering right leg kick.
Several times, Lamas limped on the kick, but to his credit, he kept coming.
"I was surprised [he took all of the kicks,]," Aldo said after the bout. "He took a lot of kicks on the leg. He's a great fighter."
Not nearly as great as Aldo, though, who extended his winning streak to 17 with yet another one-sided win.
Aldo hasn't lost since Nov. 26, 2005, when, as a 19-year-old, he was submitted in the second round with a rear naked choke by Luciano Azevedo.
He hasn't lost since and, the truth is, he hasn't come close to losing. He's now tied for third with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for the most consecutive successful UFC title defenses, with six. Only former middleweight champion Anderson Silva (10) and ex-welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (nine) have more.
Counting his World Extreme Cagefighting championship matches, Aldo is now 9-0 in title bouts in either UFC or WEC. Zuffa owns both UFC and WEC and folded the WEC into the UFC in 2011, so in reality, Aldo has eight consecutive defenses and is 9-0 overall in title matches.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Urijah Faber
- Jose Aldo
- Renan Barao
- Ricardo Lamas