UFC 138: Under The Radar

One Punch

Brad Pickett

Brad Pickett and Renan Barao get the Under The Radar treatment

It’s s no secret that the card for this weekend’s UFC 138 has lacked the buzz and excitement typically expected from a UFC event.

Outside of the main event between Mark Munoz and Chris Leben, there doesn’t seem to be many match-ups for fans to get excited about. Granted, the card does include former welterweight contender Thiago Alves in a must-win situation.

But there is a bantamweight bout on the card that has fireworks written all over it. For this reason, Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barao gets our Under the Radar treatment.

Brad Pickett: (21-4 UFC debut)
WIN WEC 53 Ivan Menjivar (unanimous decision)
LOSS WEC 50 Scott Jorgensen (unanimous decision)
WIN WEC 48 Demetrius Johnson (unanimous decision)

Renan Barao: (26-1-1 NC, 1-0 UFC)
WIN UFC 130 Cole Escovedo (unanimous decision)
WIN WEC 53 Chris Cariaso (submission, round 1)
WIN WEC 49 Anthony Leone (submission, round 3)

Why I Picked This Fight

A typical fight featuring bantamweights in the UFC promises action but this particular match-up should bring a ton of fun.

Pickett has won 10 out of his last 11 outings. Even in his lone loss along this stretch to divisional contender Scott Jorgensen, “One Punch” put out enough of a scrap to earn “Fight of the Night” honors. Pickett comes looking for the fight and having a well rounded skill set helps to ensure no matter where the fight goes, he’ll always be able to press the action.

There is also a buzz growing around Barao. Not only is does he spend his training camps mixing it up with current featherweight champion and pound for pound notable Jose Aldo, but Barao has also put together a 26-fight win streak. Save for a split-decision loss in his pro debut and a no-contest, the young Brazilian has been extremely impressive every step of the way. He looked solid in his debut against Escovedo back in May and a win in Birmingham would put him on the divisional fast track.

This fight could play out in several different ways. Pickett has proven his ability to adapt to an opponent’s game plan during the course of a fight, as seen in the bout with Menjivar. He has also shown the ability to stay aggressive despite position. Those are the tools Pickett will need when dealing with Barao. The Brazilian brings a grab bag of spinning kicks, punches and flying knees into the Octagon and his ability to put the fight on the canvas at any time makes him a tough puzzle to solve. Aggressiveness is not an attribute either fighter lacks and it will be interesting to see which man pushes the harder pace.

In a division where champion Dominick Cruz is thin on contenders, a win at UFC 138 could move the winner towards contention.