Finishes were so rare at UFC 169; the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s record for the most decisions on a fight card was broken.
Still, most of the fights were entertaining, and Abel Trujillo gave fans a spectacular knockout.
As always, some fighters made strong statements with their performances, while others crumbled under the bright lights of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Octagon.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from UFC 169:
1. Renan Barão
Barão made it clear he’s the best bantamweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship right now, making quick work out of Urijah Faber. As impressive as Faber’s striking has been lately, Barão’s striking was significantly better. He landed combinations early and often, eventually putting “The California Kid” away with a barrage of hammer-fists at 3:42 of the first round, retaining the UFC’s bantamweight title.
The stoppage was on the premature side, but that wasn’t enough to detract from the obvious fact that Barão was the better MMA fighter.
2. Abel Trujillo
Trujillo brought his A-game at UFC 169, giving MMA fans an instant classic. He traded hard shots with Jamie Varner from the opening seconds, got hurt a couple of times, then sent Varner to the canvas with a vicious right hand to the chin during the second round. It was one of the most impressive comeback knockouts in recent UFC history, earning “Killa” the “Knockout of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” awards, and an extra $125,000.
3. Jose Aldo
Aldo reminded us all why he’s the second-ranked fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s roster at UFC 169, putting on a solid performance against Ricardo Lamas. The defending featherweight champion’s leg kicks were effective, and he quickly established himself as the better striker, landing 52 percent of his strikes compared to Lamas’ 28 percent. Aldo found himself in a little bit of trouble during the fifth round, when Lamas finally put him on his back, but he kept his composure, surviving until the final bell.
Notable mentions: Alistair Overeem, Al Iaquinta, Kevin Lee, Ali Bagautinov, and Neil Magny.
1. Urijah Faber
With his loss to Barão at UFC 169, Faber is now 0-3 in UFC title fights, 0-5 in his last five attempts to become a champion. That puts him in an awkward spot where he’s clearly one of the best fighters in his division, but, perhaps, not good enough to be the top dog. Faber will need to come up with a creative way to reinvent himself if he wants another crack at a title anytime soon.
Fortunately for Urijah, most MMA fans like him, and that includes UFC president Dana White as well, meaning The California Kid’s spot on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s roster remains secure.
2. Frank Mir
Mir lost his fourth consecutive bout at UFC 169, losing a unanimous decision to Alistair Overeem, failing to win a single round on any of the three Octagon-side judges’ scorecards. That might be enough to send him packing from the UFC, or, if he’s lucky, relegate him to the gatekeeper role.
3. Herb Dean
In my opinion, Dean is the best referee in MMA, but he deserves some reprimanding for what transpired during the main event at UFC 169. That’s because Faber actually blocked a majority of the fight-ending punches, even, giving Dean the “thumbs up” before the normally-competent referee called an end to the contest.