Coming up this Saturday, July 21, the UFC will break new ground as UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao will go down inside the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the first time ever. Unfortunately, for many fight fans, from the time this fight card was announced until last week, there have been a total of eleven fights rearranged, added or moved from the card entirely. With just a few days until fight night, let’s take a look at the Main Card and see how it breaks down.
The first bout of the UFC 149 pay-per-view broadcast is a Welterweight bout between Chris “The Menace” Clements (11-4) and Matt Riddle (6-3). Both men are coming into this fight as replacements for the originally scheduled fighters; Clements for Thiago Alves and Riddle for Siyar Bahadurzada (who was filling in for Yoshihiro Akiyama). Both men are also coming off split decision victories in their last fights and will definitely need to come out and perform impressively. With Clements being better known for his striking ability (and holding the record for fastest KO in MMA History at three seconds) and Riddle being better known for his wrestling, this fight will be a clash of styles that could very well end early if Clements connects with Riddle’s chin.
Next up we have another Welterweight battle as “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (50-14-1, 1nc) faces off against James Head (8-2). On paper, Ebersole, a late replacement for Claude Patrick, seems to be the favorite in this fight, having more losses on his record than Head has total fights. However, Head is a well-rounded fighter that may not be as much as an underdog as many would think. Granted, he has never faced any of the talent that Ebersole has or anybody as experienced, but he is comfortable on his feet as well on the ground. Ebersole is riding an eleven-fight win streak, dating back to 2009, which includes six finishes (3 KO/3 SUB). Wherever this fight goes once the doors lock, it should be an entertaining one.
The next bout on the PPV broadcast features Heavyweights Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) and Shawn “The Menace” Jordan (13-3). When it comes to Heavyweight bouts, fans have come to expect either an exciting slugfest that ends with one man unconscious or a sloppy hug-fest resulting in both men showing their lack of cardio. These two men have combined for twenty KO/TKO victories, so you can more than likely expect more of slugfest and hopefully less of a hug-fest. While neither man is anywhere near being a title contender, the winner of this fight will definitely raise his stock in the very stacked Heavyweight division.
In the UFC 149 Co-Main Event of the evening, Hector “Lightning” Lombard (31-2-1, 1nc) will meet Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (15-4) in a bout that may have Number One Contender implications for Anderson Silva’s Middleweight Championship. Boetsch was originally scheduled to meet Michael Bisping at UFC 148 but, after injuries sucked some life out of this card, the fight was moved to help give UFC 149 some strength. Unfortunately, Bisping was forced out of the fight due to an injury and Lombard was more than happy to fill in. Although Lombard is far more experienced, Boetsch has proven that he has plenty of heart and can never be counted out of a fight. While both men have a background in different grappling disciplines, they have earned the majority of their victories by way of KO/TKO. After Silva’s recent victory over Sonnen, the door for the next challenger has been left wide open and the victor of this fight could very well be next in line, or at least up for consideration.
The UFC 149 Main Event of the evening will be for the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship and feature former WEC Featherweight Champion “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) and Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo’s training partner Renan Barao (28-1, 1nc). Many people are expecting Faber to easily defeat Barao and set up a rematch with Dominick Cruz to unify the belts as soon as Cruz is back from injury. However, you can’t count out the man who is currently riding a twenty-nine fight streak and hasn’t lost since his professional debut back in 2005. Arguably number two and number three ranked fighters in the Bantamweight division, Faber and Barao are sure to put on a show for the fans once the cage doors lock. Both men are excellent grapplers but also comfortable settling things on their feet so this fight should be very exciting. With no time-table set for Cruz’s return, Faber and Barao each have differing opinions on whether they’d wait for Cruz to return or defend the Interim belt until he is able to fight. Regardless of the future of the Bantamweight Championship, this is definitely a fight you’re not going to want to miss!
Stick with MMAValor.com for all your pre UFC 149 coverage, including the UFC 149 betting corner and predictions.