UFC 138 Fighter of the Night: Renan Barao Continues Impressive Streak

November 7, 2011

Renan Barao is arguably one of the best fighters no one pays attention to. But they should.

At UFC 138, the Brazilian took down one of the more popular British fighters the UFC has to offer in Brad Pickett. And when one says “took down,” it’s meant in a way that sees Barao stepping in the pocket and playing right into Pickett’s game.

Toe-to-toe, Barao stood with his opponent and showed why he’s on a remarkable streak that hasn’t seen him on the losing side of a fight since his professional debut. At 27-1 (1 NC), the bantamweight has won 17 consecutive fights, finishing 11 of those opponents before going to the judges. Had it not been for a no-contest against Claudemir Souza in late 2007, Barao would have an unprecedented 27-fight win-streak.

Technicalities are such a nuisance!

Barao has been under the Zuffa, LLC., umbrella since WEC 49, where he submitted Anthony Leone halfway through the final round of their fight. Needless to say, he’s been perfect in both the WEC cage and the Octagon. Getting to the UFC is only part of the journey for this young, talented fighter; he wants to get that golden opportunity, too.

When the time comes to get a title shot, he says he’ll be good to go.

“Brad Pickett is a… top opponent,” Barao said at the UFC 138 post-fight press conference. “The [objective]… when you come up here to the UFC is to fight for the title and I’m ready for it any time.”

Stretching a streak for as long as Barao has is no easy task, let alone against the No. 7-ranked MMAWeekly.com bantamweight. By continuing his impressive streak and besting a tough test like Pickett, Renan Barao is the UFC 138 fighter of the night.

Munoz vs Leben

Honorable Mention: The courteous contender, Mark Munoz

Calling champs out for a title shot is a regular practice in this game of mixed martial arts. Doing so has become a sort of art form, executed beautifully by some, but fumbled by others.

After taking out Chris Leben in the UFC 138 main event, Mark Munoz spoke to Joe Rogan at center-Octagon and called out middleweight king Anderson Silva, requesting a shot at his belt. The delivery of demand was friendly, to say the least.

“The thing is, Anderson Silva is by far the best pound-for-pound fighter,” Munoz said in his post-fight interview with Rogan. “I give him all the respect and honor, but I think I deserve a title shot right now. I consider him a friend, but I would love to get a title shot.”

This approach is strikingly different than Chael Sonnen’s “Silva, you suck” approach. But hey, it gets the point across, right?

Whether or not Munoz gets the nod is up to Joe Silva and Dana White, but one has to admire Munoz’s quaint request. This politeness comes moments after Munoz beat Chris Leben into a bloody mess. You have to love how he can be a wrecking machine one moment, then turn into a perfect gentleman.

Tip of the cap, Munoz.

Worth a Mention: Thiago Alves actually choked out a guy

Muay Thai? Who needs Muay Thai when you’re choking guys out?

Thiago Alves finished his UFC 138 fight with Papy Abedi by rear-naked choke, which is something he’d never done before in his career. Up until that point, “Pit Bull” wins came either by knocking out opponents or beating them up enough until the judges scored it in his favor. There was one other submission win for Alves prior to Saturday night, but even that was a tapout due to strikes.

Getting things done on the ground for the first time is quite the accomplishment. And though it may not win Alves the fighter of the night award, it’s at least worth a mention. Well done.

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