Dominick Cruz to meet Renan Barao

Goodness gracious. UFC 169 will headline its Feb. 1 (cough, pre-Super Bowl, cough) card with two title fights:

Jose Aldo will meet Ricardo Lamas for the featherweight belt while Renan Barao will meet Domick Cruz to unify the bantamweight title. Yowzers.

Naturally, the UFC has stacked the top of its card with two very intriguing and significant fights. Aldo and Lamas has been an anticipated fight for some time. Aldo has stood uncontested at the top of the feathwerwight stack since he stepped into the octagon. As the most explosive fighter on the UFC roster, Aldo has debilitated his opponents in a unique manner each time out. Lamas is on a four-fight winning streak over some impressive names – notably finishes of Cub Swanson and Erik Koch and a decision over Hatsu Hioki.

Perhaps a more important story will be the return of Dominick Cruz. After suffering an ACL injury which he aggravated, Cruz has been out of the octagon for two years. He will face the toughest challenge of his career extremely rusty. Renan Barao may have had to sport the ‘interim’ for some time, but he is as dangerous as any fighter in the UFC.

This fight, under ideal conditions, would be one of the best the UFC has put on a card in years. As it stands, Cruz will be hard-pressed to fight his hyper-active, movement style with out testing his knee in a fully competitive fight. It is hard to predict which Cruz will show up.

On another note, it is a sign of good things that the card will be headlined by a pair of lighter weight classes. Heavier weight classes are better draws, but with the Brazilian market growing, Aldo and Barao on the top of the card will surely be a massive draw in that country – as it should in North America.



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