NEWARK - Dropped to the floor, Urijah Faber managed to get back to his feet. Wobbled next, Faber managed to get back to his feet. Grounded yet again, Faber had one choice: cover up and try to make it through the barrage of punches from Renan Barao.
And that was all in the first round.
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Barao managed to stop Faber at the 3:42 mark of the first round to defend his bantamweight title at UFC 169 at the Prudential Center on Saturday night.
The stoppage by referee Herb Dean was some questionable as Faber was holding onto Barao's ankle while Barao launched his series of punches.
"It's very frustrating, I'm one of the most durable guys," Faber said. "He told me to do something, so I gave him the thumbs up right before he stopped it."
Faber made sure to point out that Dean is one of the best referees in the mixed martial arts. But the decision still didn't sit well with Faber, a former WEC featherweight champion.
"I guess I could jump up and say 'Herb, I'm all right,'" said Faber (30-7).
The win extended Barao's streak to 22 straight. It was the first title defense for Barao (34-1) as the official, undisputed champion. He had been the interim champion while Dominick Cruz was injured. Cruz and Barao were supposed to fight on this night, but Cruz was injured again last month and was stripped of his title after three injuries and more than two years away from the cage.