Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas and Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barão Top UFC 169 Fight Card

October 29, 2013
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Jose Aldo and Dominick CruzThe UFC originally announced that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would put his belt on the line against Glover Teixeira at UFC 169 on Feb. 1 in Newark, N.J.

That proved to be a false start, but the fight card will still be topped with gold.

UFC officials on Tuesday announced that not one, but two title fights would top the bill when the promotion moves the Super Bowl weekend event from its traditional home in Las Vegas to New Jersey at the behest of its television partners at Fox.

UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo puts his belt on the line against Ricardo Lamas in the night’s main event, while bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz returns from a two-year-plus hiatus to unify his belt with interim champion Renan Barão’s gold.

The UFC 169 fight card also includes the previously announced heavyweight showdown between former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem, the former Strikeforce titleholder.

Aldo (23-1) has long been teasing a possible lightweight move, but it just doesn’t make sense with the current logjam at the top of the 155-pound division. He will instead attempt to continue building upon a 16-fight winning streak that includes victories over Chan Sung Jung, Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian, and a host of the top fighters in the sport.

His challenger, Ricardo Lamas (13-2) isn’t on quite the streak that Aldo is, but is currently on a four-fight run of his own consisting of victories over Matt Grice, Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch.

It was a veritable toss-up between Lamas and Jung as to who was going to challenge Aldo for the belt in August, but the Korean Zombie was awarded the opportunity. Lamas has been on the sidelines since January, patiently awaiting his turn, and will have been out of the Octagon for more than a year when he enters the Octagon opposite Aldo.

Cruz (19-1) has Lamas topped for time out of action, however. He hasn’t fought since winning a unanimous decision over current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in October of 2011.

Cruz was sidelined due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament while training for his rubber match with former WEC champion Urijah Faber. His body, however, rejected a cadaver ligament used in the initial surgery to repair Cruz’s knee and he had to start over. Now, he’s been patiently working his way back into shape so that he doesn’t have a recurrence of the injury that nearly forced the UFC into stripping him of his belt.

He’ll square off with Barão, the man who picked up the championship slack while Cruz was sidelined.

As impressive as Aldo’s 16-fight streak is, his Nova União teammate, Barão (31-1, 1 NC), has a longer unbeaten streak intact. Barão hasn’t lost since the first fight of his career in 2005.

He has one no contest mixed in, but that is the only blip amongst the 32 fights since his debut. Barão’s current stretch under the Zuffa banner – combining his WEC and UFC tenures – is at eight victories.

He enters the fight with Cruz coming off of consecutive victories over Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald, Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen, and Brad Pickett.

Fans that were clamoring for the UFC to strip Cruz, now have only until February to wait and see if it was worth the wait for him to recoup and come back to challenge Barão, who hasn’t skipped a beat while Cruz was on the mend.

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  • macarrech

    nice!

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    I love Cruz and I wish this fight could have happened before his injury. I’m taking Barao by ko.

    • Mark McDowall

      Im not so sure the result would be any different…

      • Ian Price

        I hope Cruz wins. But it will be hard with that much rust.

        • Mark McDowall

          2 years…2 newly rebuilt knees and a hell of a tough opponent is going to be almost impossible. He really should have given up the built and had a tune up fight first.

    • solo

      I love Cruz too, im so glad to see him back. But, i dont think hes gonna be able to handle Barao, especially after the lay off. Even thoguh i also predict Barao FTW, lets not underestimate Dominick. What do you think about Aldo vs Lamas?

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        I like Lamas a lot he earned that title shot but I’m going with Aldo because I feel he’s just well rounded enough to handle the fight anywhere and also because I badly want Aldo at LW fighting Pettis.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

    Wait so, we’re not going to see Jon Jones fight? :(

    I really wanted to see him against Teixeira
    .__________.

  • fsunoles10

    if this was before cruz got hurt id pick cruz but 2 years is just to long of a lay off to come back and fight head and shoulders the best guy in the class since he has been gone so i got barao by decision. and of course i have aldo over lamas by tko.

  • uncle

    I hope UFC stack this card, beacuse both of these fights
    will end early

    • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

      I’d rather have two stunning early stoppage fights than two boring long safe fights..

      (NOT TALKING ABOUT JONES VS GUSTAFSSON)

      • uncle

        I hear you it would be like watching
        a boring a** Mayweather fight, just for
        PPV sake stack this card ,2 good fights
        and the rest of the card could be crap

        • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

          Frank Mir and Allistar Overeem are also on this card. I’d say thats a decently stacked card

    • Joel Lucas

      Early you don’t know Rick at all im i n the gym with him alot, he is not going to stop he will die for the W watch and see

  • el che

    Cruz vs Barao should be the main, not the co, as it is being marketed as a champion vs (interim) champion title fight…

    and yes, i’m aware of Aldo’s drawing power being greater than the aforementioned. regardless, at the end of the night, we will hear, “and new UNDISPUTED ufc bw champion, Renan Barão!!!!”

    • Mark McDowall

      That is a good point…combining the belts. But I can understand that it is CO main event because of Cruz being out so long.

    • Maddawgmar

      UFC has always put the heavier weight class title over the lower. UFC 100 Lesnar v Mir was over GSP v Alves.

    • Jeff

      Who gives a s***? Aren’t they both 5 round fights? What difference does it make which one is the main and which one is co-main?

    • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

      DOESN’T MATTER CO-EVENT MAIN EVENT
      STILL ARE GOING TO BE TWO AMAZING FIGHTS

    • Kbroesq

      As a policy, if there are two title fights on the same card, the heavier weight classes go last. That’s just the way they do it, and it says nothing about the importance or implications of the fight.

    • Bugster

      Seriously both of these are not main ppv material.
      They both should be undercard.

      • Ricardo Ritz Cardoso

        WTF?????!!!!!!Are u drunk man?

  • Kris-tyahn

    If Cruz didn’t have two+ years worth of ring rust, along with two major ACL surgeries, I’d probably would have picked Cruz to win, but with the long lay off & surgeries, he has NO chance of beating Barao. Give Cruz 1.5 yrs, or 3 fights after his Barao fight, then we’ll get to watch Cruz vs. Barao in a “fair” fight. Assuming Barao is still champ & assuming Cruz wins his next 3 fights, which I assume both will. A healthy & in shape Cruz vs. Barao should be a great fight.
    As for Aldo, not sure why many people are counting Lamas out, he’s an incredible fighter. He probably has more power than Aldo, very quick, but the only issue I am concerned is ring rust, it will be over a year since he’s fought, which is not a good thing, especially considering it wasn’t due to injury. Had Lamas had more than one fight in 2013, I’d pick him to upset Aldo, but since Lamas hasn’t fought since Jan 2013, ring rust will be a factor once again.

    • Maddawgmar

      But two years to rehab that ACL. I tore mine in the fall of 2011, by a year later my knee was 100%. Yet I didn’t have two surgeries, and didn’t have to get back in the type of conditioning they are in. The knee shouldn’t be a factor in the fight, unless he had an incompetent doctor. Ring rust, I think is a myth. An excuse on underperforming after a lay off. Some people have it others don’t, I consider that unprepared.

      • Matte

        You really don’t know what you’re talking about right?

        Perhaps you should read up on how Cruz rehab developed before saying anything.

        • Maddawgmar

          I know how it developed and the time off is more than ample to rehab the knee.

    • Lucas Freire

      I don’t think he has more power than Aldo. I also think Aldo is much more technical.

      • Joel Lucas

        Get hit or kicked by him, he has plenty of power trust me

        • Lucas Freire

          I think I’d have to be hit/kicked by both to judge who has more power. lol
          In case I wasn’t clear, I meant to say that based on the fights I’ve seen from both fighters, I think Aldo has more power, or maybe he just hits in a more effective way.

    • Matte

      So… you’re sticking to the favorites? ;)

    • Joel Lucas

      Lamas is not going to have ring rust trust me, he is in the gym every day fighting his ass off!!

  • Kenny Powers

    1. Cruz will have been out almost 2 1/2 years
    2. Cruz hasn’t faced anyone nearly as talented as Barao
    3. Cruz’s biggest weapon is in his legs and footwork

    4. Barao is going to be kicking the crap out of his legs
    5. Barao has explosive KO power.
    6. Cruz got dropped by Faber a few times.

    Cruz might possibly have the cardio on Barao, but it won’t win him the fight. There’s too many odds against him. Barao by TKO (leg kicks), Round 4.

    • solo

      You can find millions of facts and write them down, and it still wont mean Cruz cant beat Barao.

      • Kenny Powers

        Im not saying it isnt possible, but from a reality standpoint, im goin with Barao

    • Maddawgmar

      1 Cruz is much taller
      2 Cruz has a longer reach
      3 Cruz had ample time to rehab his leg properly
      4 Cruz can match the speed of Barao
      5 Barao hasn’t faced anyone like Cruz
      6 Just because one person did something to Cruz doesn’t mean another can. Fights don’t work that way.

      No matter what way you spin your points, doesn’t mean the fight will turn out that way. I for one believe Cruz will win by boring stick and move. But who can really tell in this fight.

      • Kenny Powers

        Well im spinning my points towards reality. Being out that long and stepping in against a beast like Barao is one thing. Next, your biggest weapon is in your legs, where your injury happened, and Barao will be chopping you down like a tree. I strongly disagree Cruz could match Baraos speed, even before the injury. If Faber found his chin, Im sure Barao wont have a problem seeing as how he’s taller with a longer reach. And yeah fights do work like that when you do your research.

        • Maddawgmar

          So by your logic. Because Joe Louis found Ali’s chin and knocked him down, that would mean George Foreman who was bigger stronger and longer reach should was gonna do the same… But it didn’t. A>B and B>C doesn’t mean C>A in MMA math. You are comparing apples and oranges. His knee very well may be an issue, but two and a half years should be ample time to rehab even with the issues he had. Look at Marcus Lattimore from USC, he tore his ACL and rehabbed it right and came back better (until his other knee was torn). Adrian Peterson came back after a year off from injury and had his best season ever.

  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    These title fights should be in a Brazil PPV, imagine them in Rio de Janeiro where Nova Uniao is, in a fantasy card with Gadelha-Esparza too :D

  • Dragon Kid

    Someone’s 1 will become a 2

  • Bugster

    Seriously who is going to buy this card, it should be free.
    Cruz hasn’t fought since WEC. You would need to paid me to watch Lamas fight. The UFC really is trying to milk the PPV away. I rather spend money on a Game instead.

    • Lucas Freire

      It’s because of people like you that champions like Barao,Cruz and Aldo earn less money than guys like Rothwell,Schaub and Mitrione

    • Matte

      Are you kiddin’ me?
      This card is gonna be amazing.

      • Bugster

        why is this card amazing, you can’t wait to see Lamas vs Aldo? of all the featherweight fights that is the guy you want to see Aldo fight. Lamas, ??

        Barao vs Cruz is interesting but Cruz hasn’t fought for a long time. He was fighting in the Versus channel on cable.
        Unless they throw in 2 more big fights.
        This is a big flop and that is the truth.

  • Jason Decipher

    Cruz will finally get destroyed nothing wrong with that cause it will set up a rubber match Cruz vs Faber 3! I don’t see anyone beating Barao. Aldo’s division is weak nuff said

    • Mike mckinney

      Every division with a long standing champion who crushes almost everyone appears weak. It’s just how it is. Everyone talked about how weak lightweight was until BJ penn lost. The moment that happened everyone thought the division was much stronger.
      Same thing has happened with Anderson. The title hasn’t even been defended yet and people are talking about the division “picking up, and getting strong.”
      There’s a difference between a division not being competitive with its champion, and it being weak. Though it can be hard to tell.

  • Mr Pete

    Shouldnt Cruz at the very least do a warm up fight against some bum before fighting in championship fight? 2 years is kind of a long time