#renanbarao #ufc #mma #dominickcruz
The UFC bantamweight division was in limbo in some form or fashion for the past two years as champion Dominick Cruz has been sitting on the sidelines recovering from two surgeries to repair a torn ACL in his knee.
In his absence, the UFC crowned a new interim champion in Renan Barao last year, and while Cruz is still clasping onto his belt hoping to come back in early 2014, the Brazilian on an incredible win streak is certainly doing his part to claim the top spot in the weight class.
Barao was pretty much spotless between his WEC and UFC career, but on Saturday night at UFC 165 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, he took on a fighter who knows what gold feels like around his waist.
Eddie Wineland was the first WEC bantamweight champion, and he had the kind of power in his hands and the killer instinct to give Barao problems if the champion wasn't careful.
In the early going of the fight, Wineland showed Barao that he had to respect his power as he uncorked a big punch in the first half of the opening round that cracked the champion flush on the jaw. Barao came back later in the round, however, and probably made it a tough call on the judges' scorecards who won the five-minute session.
Barao had no intention of the judges even getting involved because in the second round he spun around with all of his weight and launched a kick that put his heel right up against the side of Wineland's face. The former WEC champion crashed backward to the mat, and Barao pounced on him with a few more punches until the referee swooped in for the save.