Paul Felder Admits It May be Do or Die for Renan Barao at UFC Fight Night in Sao Paulo

It wasn’t all that long ago that Renan Barao was considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.

Going undefeated for 33 straight fights while becoming UFC bantamweight champion, Barao looked virtually untouchable while reigning havoc over the 135-pound division.

It all came crashing down for Barao when he faced T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173 back in 2014. He walked into the fight as a massive favorite but he walked out bruised, battered and beaten while suffering a fifth round TKO that cost him the bantamweight championship.

Since that defeat, Barao has gone just 2-4 with a brief stint at featherweight and two separate occasions where he missed weight trying to get back down to the bantamweight limit.

One of those situations happened on Friday when Barao came in a whopping 5.6 pounds over the bantamweight limit for a non title fight. Considering he was already walking into his fight against newcomer Andre Ewell off two straight losses, Barao had plenty of pressure without failing to make weight.

Renan Barao at UFC Fight Night 88Now Barao might be stepping into the Octagon to fight for his job.

“I think for him it is [do or die],” UFC on FOX commentator Paul Felder told MMAWeekly when speaking about Barao ahead of the fights on Saturday night. “I think he’s really got to get in there and make a statement and show out a little bit. Because he’s not looked his form lately and this being in Brazil, this is his chance to really shine.

“I really think he not only needs to win but he has to look impressive to get another big fight at 135, especially the way that division is looking. He’s got to do something to really stand out.”

Barao’s last two wins in the UFC both came in his native Brazil so that seems to bode well for him going into the fight on Saturday night.

TRENDING > Dana White Says Conor McGregor is Better Than Muhammad Ali at Mental Warfare

Then again a victory may not be enough to stave off the critics as Barao is taking on a relative unknown in Ewell so he might need a spectacular victory to really prove he’s got something left to give.

“It’s big. Anytime you’re fighting at home and fighting a guy that not that many people know about in the case of Renan Barao, but I think these guys will take anything they can to fight in Brazil,” Felder added. “These guys jump on the chance any time a card is in Brazil to hopefully rise to the occasion and get back on the horse. Get back to his winning ways.”

Undefeated Luigi Vendramini Confident Heading Into UFC Debut in Sao Paulo

Since making his pro debut in April of 2016, lightweight prospect Luigi Vendramini has proven to be someone to watch in his native Brazil.

In seven bouts, Vendramini is undefeated with seven finishes. It is with that impressive streak that he’s earned a shot at the UFC this Saturday in Sao Paulo versus Elizeu Zaleski in a preliminary 170-pound bout at Fight Night 137.

Speaking to MMAWeekly.com via email, Vendramini spoke about his career to date, his UFC debut, and where he looks to take his career in the coming months.

MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Luigi, you have had a very strong start to your career. How do you feel about your start and how do you feel about how you have been performing in your fights?

Luigi Vendramini: I’m very happy with how my career has started. When I began training, it was only to be with my father and get in shape. I was overweight when I was younger, but lost about 50 kilos (110 pounds) in six months, then started to compete. Fighting changed my life.

In the cage, I’m very proud of how I’ve performed. There’s always room for improvement, which is what I’m always working on, but I’ve finished my first eight professional opponents, and that says a lot about how I am performing.

MMAWeekly.com: Since turning pro a couple of years ago, what do you feel has changed most about your skills? Would you say you are a much different fighter now than when you turned pro or are you still close to the same fighter?

Luigi Vendramini: I’m a totally different fighter since my pro debut, and I feel like I’m improving every day. Some aspects are the same – like my work ethic and drive – but every day I’m sharpening my skills and getting better.

Perhaps the biggest change in my skills has been my wrestling, which is a result of my time with Team Alpha Male. I’ve been in Brazil for the past three months, which is awesome, but I learn so much when I’m in California. They train as true mixed martial artists, all day, and that’s what I am. They’ve had a huge influence on my wrestling, which has helped make me a whole different fighter.

TRENDING > Jon Jones Issues Statement Following Resolution to UFC Anti-Doping Policy Penalty

MMAWeekly.com: Tell us your thoughts on your match-up this Saturday in Sao Paulo at UFC Fight Night 137 versus Elizeu Zaleski. What do you have to do in the fight in order to defeat him?

Luigi Vendramini: I’ve seen the video on (Zaleski). He’s very good with good Muay Thai. I like the match-up. I’ve fought and beaten good kickboxers before. I just need to stick to the game plan that my coaches have prepared for me, and I’m confident my hand will be raised again.

MMAWeekly.com: Now that you are in the UFC, what is your goal moving forward for the coming year? Can you plan ahead for things or is it best to see what the UFC brings to you?

Luigi Vendramini: Everything is so unpredictable that it’s hard to plan for the next year. That said, my focus right now is on winning this fight, then I’m going to try to fight again quickly after that. I like to be as active as possible and would fight every month if the UFC would want it that way. The next year will be very exciting, and I’m ready for it all.

Knockout Radio Featuring Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell - UFC 54

Knockout Radio Hour One: Sam Shewmaker and Titus O’Neil

Knockout Radio Hour One: Chuck Liddell, Marciea Allen, and Michael Moore

Check out Knockout Radio’s podcast featuring UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell, who is returning from retirement to fight fellow Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz for a third time, now under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. Also on Knockout Radio, check out Sam Shewmaker, Titus O’Neil, Marciea Allen, and Michael Moore. Plus, all the latest MMA news and happenings.

Knockout Radio consistently brings the best guests in the world of mixed martial arts, covers the latest news, and breaks down and recaps every UFC event and many of the other top mixed martial arts events from around the world.

HOT TOPICS:

Bellator 205 Fight Highlights: AJ McKee Sleeps John Teixeira!

(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

It took undefeated featherweight AJ McKee little more than a minute to put John Teixeira out cold on the canvas at Bellator 205.

TRENDING > Dana White: Conor McGregor Will Earn Biggest Payday Ever for Biggest PPV Ever

Bellator 205: McKee vs. Teixeira Results

  • AJ McKee def. John Teixeira via knockout (punch) at 1:09, R1
  • Rafael Lovato Jr. def. John Salter via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:27, R3
  • Veta Arteaga def. Denise Kielholtz via submission (standing guillotine choke) at 4:24, R2
  • Patricky Freire def. Roger Huerta via knockout (punches) at 0:43, R2
  • Adam Borics (8-0) def. Josenaldo Silva (25-7) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:46, R3
  • Steve Mowry (5-0) def. Ben Moa (4-1) via submission (Americana) at 2:40, R1
  • Jarod Trice (4-0) def. Sean Powers (9-7) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Emilio Trevino (3-0) def. Sua Tuani (2-1) via TKO (punches) at 1:55, R2
  • Vince Morales (8-2) def. Justin Hugo (3-5) via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 29-27)
  • Johnny Nunez (7-1) def. Josh Wick (9-4) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Andrew Cruz (4-3) def. Nathan Stolen (8-4) via submission (arm bar) at 3:41, R1
  • Kyle Frost (3-0) def. David Rangel (0-2) via technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:29, R1
  • Bryce Edminister (2-1) def. Leon Taylor (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:34, R2
  • Stephen Stirewalt (2-0) def. Joe Aguirre (2-1) via submission at 2:13, R1

Joshua Pacio Rips Strawweight Title From Yoshitaka Naito at ONE: Conquest of Heroes

Joshua Pacio - ONE Championship

The ONE Championship strawweight title changed hands for the third fight in succession at the Jakarta Convention Centre on Saturday night (local time). This time it was Joshua Pacio’s turn to wear the gold after a dominant decision win over two time champion Yoshitaka Naito.

Pacio made a fast start and found a home for his low kicks in the very first round. He easily stuffed Naito’s telegraphed takedown attempts and then landed a vicious body kick that seemed to take the wind out of the champion’s sails.

Naito tried to buy time with a takedown, but it was stuffed again and Pacio landed some knees to the head from north south position. The Filipino was in total control at this stage but surprisingly elected to to try for submission, taking the Japanese fighter’s back and fishing for either a choke or an arm lock.

Naito survived, but had spent the first five minutes in defensive mode. He wanted the takedown but only succeeded in eating a knee at the start of the second stanza. Pacio took the Japanese fighter’s back for the second time, but this time he escaped and ended the round in top position, without doing any real damage.

The third round started with a successful takedown from Naito. Pacio worked his way back up only to be dragged down again, but this time the Filipino used a Kimura attempt to sweep and briefly found himself in top position only for the champion to secure an instant reverse.

Pacio landed some more strikes at the start of the fourth with Naito unable to mount any effective striking offense. The Filipino was the aggressor and landed more leg kicks only to get taken down again as the round finished with both men exchanging strikes on the ground.

The fifth round began with Pacio utilizing the leg kicks to good effect again. Naito was relentless in pursuit of the takedown, but when he did succeed in getting the fight to the ground the champion was unable to capitalize with either ground and pound or submission attempts. 

It gave the judges an easy decision and all three decided that the aggression of the challenger scored more highly than the positional superiority of the champion. The win takes Pacio to 16-2, while his opponent drops to 13-1 and afterwards he dedicated victory to his countryman affected by Typhoon Mangkhut,

“I’m speechless.  (It’s an) unexplainable feeling, last week we had a typhoon and a lot of plans have been struck by this typhoon. I think 50-plus are dead and they are still finding missing people so this fight is for all of them.”

It was also a good night for Pacio’s friend and teammate Danny Kingad (10-1), who beat Japanese flyweight Yuya Wakamutsu (10-3) by decision. ONE Championship’s featherweight division also has a new contender after Japanese newcomer Koyomi Matsushima (10-3) stopped Marat Gafurov (16-2) in the second round.

TRENDING > Bellator 205 Fight Highlights: AJ McKee Sleeps John Teixeira!

ONE: Conquest of Heroes Results

  • ONE Strawweight World Championship bout: Joshua Pacio defeats Yoshitaka Naito by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds
  • Strawweight bout: Peng Xue Wen defeats Stefer Rahardian by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
  • ONE Super Series Muay Thai Flyweight bout: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Sergio Wielzen by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
  • Flyweight bout: Danny Kingad defeats Yuya Wakamatsu by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
  • Featherweight bout: Koyomi Matsushima defeats Marat Gafurov by TKO (Strikes) at 2:41 minutes of round 1
  • Lightweight bout: Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev defeats Timofey Nastyukhin by Knockout (KO) at 1:57 minutes of round 1
  • Flyweight bout: Kairat Akhmetov defeats Ma Hao Bin by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
  • Women’s Atomweight bout: Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol defeats Jomary Torres by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
  • ONE Super Series Muay Thai Bantamweight bout: Fabrice Fairtex Delannon defeats Yodpanomrung Jitmunagnon by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds
  • Bantamweight bout: Sunoto defeats Victorio Senduk by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:12 minutes of round 2
  • Strawweight bout: Adrian Mattheis defeats Angelo Bimoadji by TKO (Strikes) at 2:41 minutes of round 1
  • Catch Weight bout (59.0kg): Egi Rozten defeats Riski Umar by TKO (Strikes) at 0:51 minutes of round 3

UFC Sao Paulo Results: Santos vs. Anders (Full Results and Live Fight Stats)

UFC Sao Paulo Santos vs Anders Live Results

(Click on the fight below and then scroll down to see in-fight live analytics and the latest results, courtesy of Fight Analytics. The first UFC Fight Night 137: Santos vs. Anders bout from Moscow is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT.)

UFC Fight Night 137: Santos vs. Anders marks the UFC’s return to Sao Paulo, Brazil, albeit with a heavily revised main event.

The UFC Sao Paulo headliner was originally slated to be a pivotal light heavyweight showdown between Jimi Manuwa and Glover Teixeira. That was until Teixeira had to bow out because of an injury. He was soon replaced by Thiago Santos, who agreed to move up from middleweight to test himself against a top 205-pound fighter. 

UFC Sao Paulo Santos vs Anders Live ResultsAll was well until about a week prior to fight time when Manuwa had to withdraw because of an injury during his final hard training session. Scrambling to put together a new main event, the UFC enlisted Eryk Anders, who was fresh off of a victory over Tim Williams in late August.

Anders is also a middleweight who is testing the waters at light heavyweight, the division in which the bout will still be contested.

Just a few short years removed from being considered the king of the bantamweight division, Renan Barao blew his weight cut on Friday, coming in five pounds overweight for his 135-pound bout with Andre Ewell. He used to be the champion in the division, but Barao, who has now lost five of his last seven bouts, could simply be fighting for career survival in Sao Paulo.

Check out the MMAWeekly.com Rumors page for more scheduled events and rumored fight cards.

UFC Sao Paulo Results: Santos vs. Anders

Click here to make your fight picks in the comments section below!

Dana White and Matt Hughes Share Emotional Moment at Documentary Release

Dana White and Matt Hughes at documentary debut

(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

It’s well known that former UFC champion Matt Hughes is lucky simply to be alive.

Hughes was involved in a tragic accident when a pick-up he was driving was hit by a train. Though he teetered on the edge of death, Hughes somehow won the biggest fight of his life, and has slowly been working on his recovery.

As part of its 25th Anniversary, the UFC is chronicling key moments in its history by airing 25 short documentaries on its Fight Pass digital subscription service.

One of the documentaries, “A Country Boy Can Survive” (aka the Matt Hughes story), debuted at the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor press conference on Sept. 20 in New York, where UFC president Dana White and Hughes were on hand for the viewing with a select group of media.

TRENDING > Dana White Says Conor McGregor is Better Than Muhammad Ali at Mental Warfare

White introduced the film, but after it was over, Hughes, who had just seen the documentary for the first time, joined White on stage for an emotional moment.

Conor McGregor UNHINGED: Best Trash Talk Moments from UFC 229 Press Conference

Conor McGregor UFC 229 Press Conference NYC

(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube | WARNING: Strong Language)

Conor McGregor took it to a whole new level with his trash talk when he went after lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at the UFC 229 press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

TRENDING > Dana White and Matt Hughes Share Emotional Moment at Documentary Release

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Oct. 6 for UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor full live results. Undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov puts his belt on the line against Conor McGregor in the main event.

Watch the UFC Sao Paulo Post-Fight Press Conference Following the Fights

UFC Sao Paulo Santos vs Anders Press Conference

(Courtesy of UFC)

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com following UFC Fight Night 137: Santos vs. Anders for the post-fight press conference in  Sao Paulo, Brazil.

TRENDING > Joanna Jedrzejczyk Faces Valentina Shevchenko for Vacant Flyweight Title at UFC 231

Several of the night’s key fighters will field questions from the media, and we’ll learn the performance bonus winners.

Livia Renata Souza Makes Quick Work of Alex Chambers (UFC Sao Paulo Highlights)

(Video courtesy of UFC | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Check out highlights from the women’s strawweight bout between Lívia Renata Souza and Alex Chambers at UFC Fight Night 137 on Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

With the UFC’s Russian debut and its latest trip to Sao Paulo falling into the rearview mirror, the UFC 229 showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor looms large, as Oct. 6 draws near. The white-hot spotlight will now focus squarely on what is expected to be the biggest fight in UFC history.

RELATED: