Renan Barao opens as more than 3-to-1 favorite over Urijah Faber at UFC 169
Monday’s shakeup in the UFC’s bantamweight division, and subsequent new main event for UFC 169, has meant a shakeup with the oddsmakers, as well.
With Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) out of his title unification bout against Renan Barao (31-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), Urijah Faber(30-6 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is the beneficiary of a short-notice title shot.
Faber may be one of the hottest hands in the 135-pound class right now, with four straight wins in 2013, but he’ll open as a sizable underdog from the oddsmakers.
Veteran oddsmaker Joey Oddessa (@MMAOdds) on Monday told MMAjunkie that Barao will open as more than a 3-to-1 favorite in the fight, which is a rematch from the pair’s interim title fight at UFC 149 about 18 months ago. Oddessa set the line at -325 for Faber, which is up from the first time the two fought, when Barao closed between -140 and -210 between online sportsbooks and casinos.
Oddessa said the short notice won’t work in Faber’s favor.
“You figure short notice and East Coast venue, and we’re looking at a repeat of first the bout,” Oddessa said. “Barao may not lose a round and exit 32-1 when the dust settles.”
When the two fought in July 2012 in Calgary, Barao took a sweep on one scorecard and a pair of 49-46 tallies from the judges. That fight was set up as an interim title bout when Cruz suffered his first knee injury and was forced out of a trilogy fight against Faber, arguably his biggest rival. Faber suffered a broken rib in the first round of that fight.
UFC 169 is set for Feb. 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. It is the UFC’s annual Super Bowl weekend card, moved this year to New Jersey the day prior to the NFL’s title game in nearby East Rutherford, rather than its traditional home in Las Vegas.
Barao has not lost since his professional debut in April 2005, going 31-1 with a lone no-contest as a blemish over nearly nine years. He debuted in the WEC in 2010 before moving to the UFC, where he quickly went 3-0 before beating Faber for the interim belt. This past February, he stopped Michael McDonald for “Submission of the Night” to defend it in England, then stopped Eddie Wineland in Toronto for “Knockout of the Night” in September.
Faber, meanwhile, bounced back from his loss to Barao to go 4-0 with three submission wins, one of the best campaigns of any non-titleholder in the UFC this past calendar year. In December, he stopped McDonald in the UFC on FOX 9 co-main event for “Submission of the Night.”
Famously, or perhaps infamously, the six losses in Faber’s career all have come in title fights. He has not won a title fight since losing his WEC featherweight belt to Mike Brown at WEC 36 in November 2008. Since that setback, he dropped the rematch at WEC 41 and lost a featherweight title shot to Jose Aldo at WEC 48. He dropped to 135 pounds, but lost to Cruz at UFC 132, then lost to Barao at UFC 149 after Cruz’s first of three straight injuries.
For the latest on UFC 169, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Renan Barao)