Renan do Nascimento Mota Pegado

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source-

Welcome back fans! It’s time again to name this week’s MMA-Freak of the Week. If you’re not familiar how it works: I give fans the choice out of three different fighters, and they pick a winner they want me to write about.

This week’s winner is……………

~ Renan Barao ~

Our fans at MMAFreak always seem to have Barao’s back. I love that the interim bantamweight champion gets so much attention. He was also MMAFreak’s 2012 Fighter of the Year (picked by the fans).

Renan do Nascimento Mota Pegado, better known as Renan Barão (30-1-1) is the current UFC interim bantamweight champion and is riding one of the longest unbeaten streaks in MMA history with 31 straight fights without a loss (30 victories and 1 no contest).

Barao is a special fighter with a very dangerous all-around game. He is the epitome of a mixed martial artist and is the only fighter I know that lost his first fight and hasn’t lost since.

Barao made his MMA debut against Joao Paulo at Heat FC 3 in Natal, Brazil in 2005 and was defeated by unanimous decision. Barao obviously has never been finished in his MMA career. Barao won fights by TKO, KO by punches, KO by knees, rear-naked choke, toe-hold, kneebar, triangle choke, armbar, kimura, unanimous, split decision, and most recently an arm triangle over Michael McDonald.

I have been following Renan Barao since he fought Danilo Noronha at Shooto 4 in 2007 and won the fight via Submission (rear-naked choke) in the first round in impressive fashion. One of my buddies kept telling me about this crazy Brazillian MMA fighter and I was not disappointed. Barao has been on my radar ever since that fight.

I even went back and watched his fight in 2006 against The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Featherweight Tournament Winner Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra that went to a split decision. If you have never seen this fight, go back and give it a watch. This was Barao’s 6th MMA fight and Rony’s 3rd (1st loss) and both guys left it inside the octagon.

After 23 straight wins and tape trading, I was very excited to hear when Barao was signed to the WEC (World Extrem Cagefighting). His first fight was a catchweight fight with Anthony Leone. The fight was a true test for Barao and it took him until the third round to get the submission via armbar.

When I heard WEC 53 (the last WEC) was coming to my hometown of Arizona I was so excited. That card is still one of the best WEC cards ever in my opinion. I wasn’t able to make it to that card (which still bums me out). I was excited to see Pettis, and Cerrone, but when I saw that one of my boys (Chris Cariaso) was taking on Barao, I was extra bummed that I was going to miss the last WEC event.

Cariaso is a dangerous striker and I expected him to push Barao and possibly knock him out. I was so wrong, and that’s why I still love and respect Barao. Barao came out, got the fight to the ground, and took Cariaso’s back  in the first round and got the Submission (rear-naked choke) in a one sided fight.

Barao has been dominate since entering the UFC and has taken out Urijah Faber (interim bantamweight champion) and Scott Jorgensen via unanimous. Barao just recently defeated Michael McDonald back in February, but his best UFC win in my opinion is still a fight I was hoping to see in the WEC against Brad Pickett.

When Barao and Pickett (Pickett’s UFC debut) squared off at UFC 138, it almost stole the show in my opinion. Not only did this fight only last the first round, but it also got FOTN awards. Both guys came to fight and Barao wasn’t scared to stay standing with Pickett who has dangerous hands and a decent BJJ game.

The fight started and both guys came to the center ready to exchange. Barao threw some successful leg kicks, while Pickett threw his right hand with very bad intentions. They both came out swinging and both weren’t afraid to stand in the pocket with one another.

Barao landed a quick flying knee and was actually getting the better of the striker on the feet. Barao proved to Pickett that he had a better all-around strike game as he was throwing punches, kicks, knees, and spinning kicks as well. Pickett caught Barao on the chin and all this happened in the first 36 seconds of the fight. Pickett started to land some good punches about one and a half into the fight, but Barao would continue to keep the pressure on.

Both got into a scramble near the end of the round and I witnessed one of the best transitions ever. Pickett was on his side and as he went to stand up, Barao jumped into a side control/backpack position. I call it the velcro lock. Barao latched to Pickett’s back like a backpack and didn’t let go until he sunk in the the rear-naked choke and made Pickett tap. Still one of the best underrated fights in my opinion.

Hope you all enjoyed this week edition.

My fans love to pick their own Freak of the Week, and that’s what is going to happen this week. I am giving you the fans ALL the control this week. I’m not even giving you any choices this week. It’s all up to you.

Don’t choose the ones we have already done: Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn, Dan Henderson, Renan Barao and Nick Diaz. Other than that, let me know who you want. IT’s all yours this week!