The Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship will be defended in the co-main event of September’s UFC 165 event as champion Renan Barao (30-1 1 NC, 5-0 UFC) will defend the title against top contender Eddie Wineland (20-8-1, 2-2 UFC). UFC officials have confirmed the news following an inital report from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Barao and Wineland were originally scheduled to face each other in the main event of UFC 161 in June, but the bout was cancelled after Barao suffered a foot injury. UFC President Dana White suggested that Wineland take another fight, but another fight didn’t materialize, and Wineland will still get to receive his title shot as Barao is now ready to go and the fight has been rebooked.
Barao has put together an ultra-impressive 31-fight unbeaten streak, and he has scored official wins in his last 20 fights, including the last seven under the Zuffa banner. He won two fights in the now-defunct WEC, and has won his last five as a member of the UFC roster. He defeated Urijah Faber to win the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 149 last July, and has defended it once. He submitted Michael McDonald at UFC On FUEL TV 7 in February in that lone title defense.
Wineland, the first-ever WEC Bantamweight Champion, got off to a rough start to his UFC career as he dropped back-to-back decisions to Faber and Joseph Benavidez. He has bounced back in a big way, though, as a knockout win over Scott Jorgensen and a decision win over Brad Pickett have led him to get a shot at Barao’s interim championship.
The winner is expected to next fight UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz in a unification bout. Cruz is on track to being able to return from a knee injury later this year or in early 2014. Cruz has not fought since October 2011.
UFC 165 takes place on Sept. 21 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It will have two title fights as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones defends his title against Alexander Gustafsson in the night’s main event.