The Brazilian had the fans on his side in Barueri as he fought the game Gagnon.
He headed into the fight coming off his first defeat in nine years. He lost the belt to T.J. Dillasahw at UFC 173 in May.
Gagnon saw some success in the opening round. He used speed and footwork to bounce and move on the outside. He’d move in and out landing his jab and left hook. Barao took his time and midway though the round, the former champion picked up the pace. Barao landed a left hook that knocked an off balance Gagnon to the canvas.
In the second frame, Gagnon continued to apply forward pressure as Barao looked to counter strike. Gagnon attempted several takedowns but was unable to get Barao to the ground. He pressed Barao against the cage, but was unable to advance his position. The referee separated them twice in the round. Gagnon did a good job of tying Barao up, but did little once he was in the clinch position.
Barao landed leg kicks and knees to the body throughout the bout. In the final round, he began to pressure Gagnon. Gagnon attempted a throw and Barao powered him to the canvas. The Brazilian quickly moved to the side and locked on an arm-triangle choke. He tightened it down and Gagnon was forced to tap out.
Following the win, Barao called for a rematch against Dillashaw.
“I have one thing to say, I want my belt back,” said Barao following the win. “Dillashaw, I have two gifts for you; my left hand and my right hand. I’m going to shut up your mouth.”
After Dillashaw defeated Barao in May, an immediate rematch was set UFC 177 in August. The day of the weigh-in, Barao was removed from the card after being admitted to the hospital due to his weight cutting efforts.
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