Renan “Barao” Pegado’s big-fight credentials can no longer be questioned.
The Nova Uniao standout captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s interim bantamweight title with a surprisingly one-sided unanimous decision over Urijah Faber in the UFC 149 headliner on Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “Barao” (29-1, 4-0 UFC) swept the scorecards by 49-46, 50-45 and 49-46 counts, posting his 19th consecutive victory.
“Barao” kept Faber at arm’s reach throughout the 25-minute encounter. He grew more and more comfortable in the pocket as the fight progressed, landing combinations and punctuated his attack with vicious leg kicks. The tactic forced Faber to alternate between orthodox and southpaw stances, largely negating his powerful right hand.
“I came well-prepared,” Pegado said. “Faber is a great fighter, but this is the result [of my preparation]. My coach told me to keep [kicking the leg], and this was the result.”
Faber’s offense was limited to short bursts, none of which threw “Barao” off his scent. He denied all of the Team Alpha Male founder’s takedown attempts, mixing in punches and knees to the body for good measure. The 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has not lost since dropping a unanimous decision to Joao Paulo Rodrigues de Souza in his professional mixed martial arts debut in April 2005.
“I knew he would try to keep it at distance, so it was a little harder for me to get in on takedowns,” Faber said. “He hurt me pretty early with a knee to the ribs. I think my rib might be broken.”
Boetsch Spoils Lombard Debut
Tim Boetsch remained undefeated as a middleweight, as he eked out a split decision over former Bellator Fighting Championships titleholder Hector Lombard in the co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them for the surging Boetsch (16-4, 7-3 UFC).
Lombard (31-3-1, 0-1 UFC) struck for takedowns in the first and third rounds and delivered the most significant strike of the bout -- a second round body kick that had “The Barbarian” retreating for a time. However, his Octagon debut was marked by long periods of activity, and his tentative approach cost him. It left the door open for Boetsch, who scored with front kicks and power punches in a surprisingly uneventful battle at 185 pounds.
The defeat was Lombard’s first since November 2006, and snapped a streak of 20 consecutive victories for the American Top Team judoka.
Frenchman Kongo Decisions Jordan
Cheick Kongo smothered Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Shawn Jordan in the clinch, capturing a unanimous decision in a forgettable heavyweight encounter. All three judges sided with Kongo (18-7-2, 11-5-1 UFC) by 30-28, 30-27 and 30-27 counts, as the 37-year-old Frenchman recorded his third win in four appearances.
Jordan (13-4, 1-1 UFC) had no answers for Kongo’s experienced clinch game. He found himself hopelessly pinned against the cage, neutralized and frustrated while absorbing knees to the legs and body.
A late replacement for the injured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Jordan did nothing of note from an offensive standpoint, outside of an elbow to the groin in the first round.
Head Halts Ebersole Streak
Strong clinch work, timely strikes from the perimeter and airtight takedown defense carried James Head to a split decision over Brian Ebersole in a featured welterweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with the Oklahoma-based Head (9-2, 2-1 UFC), who has won four times in his last five outings.
Ebersole (50-15-1, 4-1 UFC) never established any consistency on offense, often limited to one punch or kick. He struck for a second-round takedown, but Head swept him almost immediately. Otherwise, his takedowns were ineffective. By the third round, Ebserole was forced to resort to throwing punches from his knees, a tactic which also did not serve him well.
The defeat halted Ebersole’s 11-fight winning streak.
Riddle Choke Submits Clements
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Matt Riddle submitted Chris Clements with a third-round arm-triangle choke in a welterweight showcase. Clements (11-5, 1-1 UFC) asked out 2:02 into round three.
Riddle (7-3, 7-3 UFC) had the Canadian badly hurt in the first round with a perfectly placed body kick, and controlled much of the encounter with takedowns and topside grappling. In the third round, Clements misfired on an ill-advised spinning back fist. Riddle ducked, locked in the choke from a standing position, drove the Shawn Tompkins protégé to the mat with an outside trip and finished it from there.
“I knew I wanted to bang with him a little bit, but I went back to my roots to get the [win],” Riddle said. “I’ve been working with [2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist] Robert Drysdale and took my [ground game] to the next level. Now, I’m finishing fights by submission.”
More UFC 149 »
• UFC 149 Prelims: Nick Ring Edges Court McGee in ‘The Ultimate Fighter 11’ Rematch
• UFC 149 Play-by-Play