Taking away from Dana White’s feelings about UFC 149′s performance for the masses, two fighters went in opposite directions from one another after their co-main and main event performances.
Hector Lombard and Renan Barao came into UFC 149 riding impressive unbeaten streaks, 24 and 28, respectively. At the end of the night, Barao continued to ride the wave while former Bellator Middleweight Champion Lombard, lost for the first time since PRIDE Bushido 13 when he dropped a decision to Gegard Mousasi.
Lombard came into the UFC carrying a ton hype, due to his dominating performances over the last five years since his last loss. Many thought Lombard would be next in line for a shot at Anderson Silva’s UFC Middleweight championship if he could have a dominating performance against the surging Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch.
Boetsch, who was coming off his biggest win to date over former Contender Yushin Okami, had other plans as he was able to win a split decision over the debuting Lombard to end the 24 fight unbeaten streak and continue his way up the ladder.
The disappointing performance by both fighters, who are known for their aggressiveness in fights, drew the ire of both the crowd and UFC President Dana White, but it was Lombard’s performance, mainly due to the hype coming in, that had more than a few people scratching their head.
While Lombard’s streak didn’t contain the biggest names, his biggest win prior to the loss was against Alexander Schlemanko, he was still feared and respected due to his amazing Judo background and the winning streak that came with it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Barao continued to prove what many thought he would be coming into the WEC and UFC, a force to be reckoned with.
Filling in for the injured Dominick Cruz, Barao stepped up to face former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion. Barao proved his mettle, dominating the former Champion, earning himself the Interim championship and a date down the road with current Champion Cruz once he returns.
Barao, like Lombard, entered the UFC with a ton of hype, but without the big name to establish himself. That all changed when he entered the WEC and later the UFC once the WEC merged under one banner, dispatching his first five opponents including former Champion Cole Escovedo and former contender Scott Jorgenson, with only two of those fights going to a decision.
With the unbeaten streak currently up to 29, Barao will now have the added pressure of being a champion in the interim while Cruz heals up. Barao has expressed interest in either fighting or waiting for Cruz, proving that he will be a fighting champion, like his training partner Jose Aldo.
UFC 149, aside from being called a reminder of UFC 33 by Dana While, sent two different fighters in two directions as Barao earns his first championship in the UFC, and Lombard must head back to the drawing board and look up at the rest of the division who all are buying for their chance at Anderson Silva.