Renan Barao Gets Opponent Switch, Now Fights Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148 in July

Ivan Menjivar

Barao’s original foe, Jeff Hougland, moves to May 15 card

Renan Barao will have a lengthy unbeaten streak on the line in July, but it’ll be against a new opponent.

Barao was originally scheduled to face Doug Hougland at UFC 148. But with Hougland being moved up to the May 15 card as an injury replacement, Barao now will meet Ivan Menjivar in a crucial bantamweight fight that might determine the top contender for the 135-pound title. UFC officials recently announced the opponent switch.

The UFC’s annual Independence Day weekend card will take place July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view event will be preceded by a UFC Fan Expo, which will take place at Mandalay Bay.

Barao (28-1, 1 NC, 3-0 UFC) is on one of the most impressive winning streaks in MMA history. The Brazilian has not lost since his first pro fight, a split decision setback in April 2005. Since then, he has gone 29 fights without a loss – 28 wins and one no contest. Barao joined the WEC in 2010, winning his first two fights there by submission before joining the UFC in the merger of the two promotions.

In the UFC, Barao has gone 3-0 with decision wins over Cole Escovedo and Scott Jorgensen, which came at UFC 143 last month. And his first-round submission of Brad Pickett at UFC 138 was a Fight of the Night winner. Barao trains with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at Nova Uniao in Brazil.

Menjivar (24-8, 3-1 UFC) has been perfect since returning to the UFC in the WEC merger. Menjivar first fought for the promotion at UFC 48 in June 2004, suffering a lightweight decision loss to future welterweight champion Matt Serra. After a loss to Brad Pickett in the final WEC event, Menjivar picked up a first-round TKO against Charlie Valencia, outpointed Nick Pace at UFC 133 (though he came in heavy and fought at a catch weight) and got a Submission of the Night win over John Albert at UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger last month.

Hougland (10-4, 1-0 UFC) now fights at UFC on Fuel TV 3 against Yves Jabouin on May 15.

UFC 148 is expected to feature a bantamweight title fight between champion Dominick Cruz and challenger Urijah Faber upon the completion of their coaching stints on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter LIVE” on FX. The UFC also has announced a middleweight fight between Michael Bisping and Tim Boetsch for the card, as well as a bout between former UFC champion Rich Franklin and former Strikeforce champ Cung Le.