The Fight Report: UFC 169

| January 27, 2014 | 3:52 pm | Reply

UFC 169 Main Event

We’ve got a hell of a card in Jersey this weekend, with two titles on the line and division-shaping bouts across the board at UFC 169. With Dominick Cruz on the injured list yet again, Barao is given his rightful title, but must defend it against short notice foe Urijah Faber. It’s a different fight than what he expected, but with a win over Faber in their first showdown, it’s up to Faber to find a new way to deal with the current champ. Jose Aldo will also be on the UFC 169 card to defend his strap after a series of opponent changes, taking on Ricardo Lamas in a potent battle.

Check out this and the rest of the UFC 169 action below.

Renan Barao vs Urijah Faber: A one-of-a-kind fighter, Barao finally gets his due with Cruz forced to vacate his title after years of inactivity. In the time Cruz was on the shelf though, Barao was busy tearing apart the best and brightest of his division, including his opponent in his first title defense.

Faber hasn’t been idle either, and while he came up short against Barao, he’s managed to send several outstanding fighters to the loser’s circle with his sharp submission grappling and boxing. While the first fight between these two was not competitive, Faber has seemed to find a fire he lost years ago in the WEC and may have more for Barao than just a leg to kick.

Barao has looked invincible in his career, except once. In an early match with Anthony Leone, he was put on his heels by his opponent’s aggressive yet economical approach, being beaten inside the pocket and finding himself on the mat a time or two when his mind wasn’t on defense. Faber is thrice the fighter Leone is and can work that exact same game plan, provided he gets after it immediately. Any time spent standing and pawing is time Barao can use to win, and it comes down to Faber being aggressive enough to get this done early. Is Faber going to show up and run Barao into the ground, or will he spend five rounds with defeat painted on his face? We’ll have to wait and see.

Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas: With Silva and GSP having dropped their straps and ridden off into the sunset, Aldo stands at the longest reigning champion in the UFC. A man built to fight, his reaction speed, technical acumen and power make him difficult to approach and absolute murder to fight on the outside, making bouts with him a “pick your poison” style affair.

Lamas has grown in his time in the UFC, having started his career as a decent wrestler and blossomed into a grappling phenom with a flair for dynamic striking. Being able to attack at any distance and from any angle, Lamas makes for a rough fight for anyone, including the reigning champion.

This is a tough one to call, as Aldo has shown very little weakness in his career, yet his moments of uncertainty were against strong competitors with outstanding flow in the heat of combat. Lamas has that kind of movement, but will have to remain perfect in the early goings and make sure Aldo’s gas tank runs empty before his own. If all goes well, Lamas will zap Aldo and control his foe on the mat deep into the fight, but only if he can survive the first two rounds against Aldo’s expert timing and vicious power.

Frank Mir vs Alistair Overeem: A fight that I have a hard time getting excited for, beyond the promise of a definitive end to someone’s career, Frank Mir will look to keep afloat against failed goliath Alistair Overeem. Without being cruel, both fighters have seen their best days come and go, with Mir’s skill set and body not standing up to the test of time, while Overeem was never talented, compensating for a lack of skill with a wealth of steroids.

This is a winnable fight for both men, as Mir will need to avoid almost all contact and work at his longest range until Overeem runs out of fuel, while Overeem just needs to put a hand on Mir’s chin or a knee on his body to get the former champ out of there. At least that’s what it looks like from the outside.

The one thing Mir has going for him these days is one of the sharpest minds in the sport, and the self-confidence to execute a game plan. Against Cheick Kongo, he lined up a perfect overhand that sent the kickboxer flying in the first exchange of the fight, and Overeem, if anything, is just as chinny and fights just as tall. Mir knows he can’t play with Overeem for long and is still a heavyweight with a heavyweights power. Look for Mir to fake a run-and-gun game plan and get Overeem to come forward, directly into the path of a missile that puts the K-1 champ out cold in the first.

John Lineker vs Ali Bagautinov: A theoretical Flyweight fight, we don’t know what Lineker will weigh in at, but we do know this fight will be amazing. Lineker is a tiny Wanderlei Silva, with the hooking punches and raw aggression that made The Axe Murderer famous. Having chewed up the division since a hiccup against Louis Gaudinot, Lineker fights another surging opponent in Ali Bagautinov.

Bagautinov is the best man to upset Mighty Mouse, having an incredible ground game, and a base for takedown defense that translates to crushing power in his hands. Against a one-dimensional foe like Lineker, he should easily mop the floor with the Brazilian, hitting a smooth submission late in a dominant first round.

Jamie Varner UFC 169

Jamie Varner

Jamie Varner vs Abel Trujillo: A quick turn-around for Trujillo sees him take on former WEC champ Jamie Varner in what could be a fun fight. Trujillo is the kind of guy who has historically given Varner trouble due to his strength and aggression, but he doesn’t have the fine-tuned striking and grappling to get Varner off his game completely. This comes down to Varner’s ability to implement his game plan, and against a one-trick pony like Trujillo, I think he can pull it off, mixing boxing and takedowns for a decision win.

Nick Catone vs Tom Watson: A loser leaves town affair caps off my fight report, as Jersey native Nick Catone scraps with Tom Watson. Catone is a strong-style wrestler with a serious punch, but injuries have kept him from keeping afloat in the division over the years. Watson is a bit of a throwback himself, coming from the UK circuit and known for his boxing, but not having the wrestling potential to deal with American MMA. This is a tight fight as both men tend to grind down late and it’ll come down to who can get the most done early and lock up the scorecards before that third round. My money is on Catone to hit enough takedowns to win out in his home town, and keep safe in the third if Watson is still there to fight back.

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Category: MMA, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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