Aljamain Sterling came into the UFC with a ton of potential and hype, but his momentum took a hit when he lost to Bryan Caraway and Raphael Assuncao, who are admittedly some of the best of the division. Renan Barao… well, Barao was the champ, and long considered unbeatable until he was soundly beaten by TJ Dillashaw a couple times. Now the Brazilian has been struggling to get back on track – can he do that against Sterling?
Sterling comes out throwing kicks and staying mobile in the first, while Barao tries to find his range and nail him with a counterpunch. But Sterling misjudges a kick and loses his balance, and when he goes down the Brazilian quickly gets on top. Sterling immediately threatens with a leglock, while trying to somehow sneak in a toehold, but Barao is wise to it, and eventually finds safety within Sterling’s guard. He manages to get in a little ground and pound while dodging a few submission attempts, and then the horn sounds.
Round 2 almost picks up where Round 1 left off, but this time around, when Sterling slips, he scrambles onto the Brazilian’s back. For the next few minutes Sterling utterly controls him, stretching him out while pounding the crap out of him with fists and elbows. Eventually Barao gets guard, but the onslaught continues until the horn.
Barao looks spent at the beginning of the third, and Sterling uses this opportunity to plant a front-kick to his face. The American switches into wrestling mode and the fight stalls against the fence, and when referee Herb Dean restarts them, they trade a bit, with “Aljo” getting the better of the exchanges. In the waning seconds of the bout Barao gets a takedown and takes Sterling’s back, but it’s too little, too late.
Results: Aljamain Sterling def. Renan Barao via Unanimous Decision