Former bantamweight champion
Barao hadn’t won a fight since December 2014. He moved to the 145-poud weight class after losing to T.J. Dillashaw a second time for the bantamweight championship in July 2015. Saturday was the Brazilian’s second fight as a featherweight in the octagon.
The 29-year-old looked back in champion form inside Ginásio Nilson Nelson. He landed leg kicks often and stayed on the offensive. By the second frame, he was leaping in with flying knees and launching spin kicks. Once he found his range, Barao largely picked Nover apart in the first two round.
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Nover tried to mount a comeback in the final frame as Barao appeared to have slowed. It was too little too late, but he won the round on two of the judges’ scorecards.
“Thank you UFC for the opportunity to fight in Brazil,” said Barao following the win. “I’m very happy. Obviously, you have to always be evolving. I’m really dedicated and training hard. I’ve been in Rio away from my family training. I’m only going to be evolving.”
With his first UFC win as a featherweight under his belt, Barao doesn’t care who he’s put up against next.
“Any opponent,” he said. “I’ll be ready to show my work and do what I do best in there.”
The loss put Nover on a two-fight skid in his third bout since dropping down to the featherweight division in 2015.
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