UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao will look for his second straight title defenseagainst No.4 ranked contender Eddie Wineland on Saturday, June 15 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship brings its first-ever event to Winnipeg, Manitoba with UFC 161: BARAO vs. WINELAND at the MTS Centre.
Riding one of the longest unbeaten streaks in mixed martial arts history, Barao (32-1, 1NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) defeated Urijah Faber in Calgary in July 2012 to win the interim title. He defended the belt in February against Michael McDonald with an impressive arm triangle choke that earned him his first Submission of the Night honours. Barao has gone 31 straight fights without a loss (30victories, 1 no-contest). He is on an exciting 20-fight win streak and is 5-0 since making his UFC debut in May 2011.
Wineland (20-8-1, fighting out of Chesterton, Indiana) is a former WEC bantamweight champion who comes into this title shot with two straight wins. Wineland defeated Scott Jorgensen in June 2012 in a Fight of the Night performance that marked the first time Jorgensen had ever been stopped via knockout. Wineland followed that up with a win over Brad Pickett in December.
In the night’s co-main event, light heavyweights Rogerio “Lil Nog” Nogueira and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, will have a rematch of their legendary 2005 Pride fight. The fifth-ranked Nogueira (21-5, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has won his last two fights, both of which have been against former UFC light heavyweight champions. He defeated Rashad Evans in February 2013 at UFC 156 and Tito Ortiz in December 2011 at UFC 140. Meanwhile, Rua (21-7, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) who is ranked sixth, is 1-1 in his last two fights, coming off a loss to Alexander Gustafsson in December 2012 and a win over Brandon Vera via TKO last August.
In another compelling light heavyweight bout, former Pride welterweight and middleweight champion Dan Henderson (29-9, fighting out of Temecula, California) will take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (22-3-1, fighting out of Delray Beach, Florida). Ranked third and seventh respectively, Henderson and Evans will both be looking to rebound back into the win column. Henderson recently lost a split decision to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 that snapped his four-fight win streak. Meanwhile, Evans will look to break two straight unanimous decision losses to Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 and Jon Jones at UFC 145.
Canada will also see its first women’s bantamweight bout as Port Colbourne, Ontario’s Alexis Davis (11-5) will meet Rosi Sexton (13-2, fighting out of Manchester, England). Davis, who has a black belt in bothand Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has won five of her last six fights including victories over veteran Julie Kedzie and power-punching Amanda Nunes. The “Ally-Gator” earned Fight of the Night honours in her most recent win via rear naked choke over Shayna Baszler in January at Invicta FC4. Meanwhile, Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton boasts black belts in tae kwon do and TJF jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She is currently on a three-fight win streak in the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and was their 2005 132-pound champion.
In addition, UFC 161: BARAO vs. WINELAND will feature two heavyweight bouts including Stipe Miocic (9-1, fighting out of Euclid, Ohio) against newly signed Soa Palelei (18-3, fighting out of Perth, Australia), and hard-hitters Pat Barry (8-5, fighting out of Alexandria, Minnesota) and Shawn Jordan (14-4, fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico). Former STRIKEFORCE middleweight champion Jake Shields (27-6-1, 1NC, fighting out of San Francisco, California) will also square off in a welterweight bout against Tyron Woodley (11-1, fighting out of St. Louis, Missouri) who is coming off a spectacular knockout in his UFC debut.
In addition to Davis, six other Canadians will step into the Octagon at UFC 161 including Winnipeg’s own Roland Delorme (8-1, 1NC) who faces Edwin Figueroa (9-2, fighting out of McKinney, Texas) in a bantamweight bout, Ryan Jimmo (17-2, fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta) will return against light heavyweight Igor Pokrajac (25-9, 1NC, fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia) and Toronto’s Sean Pierson (13-6) will battle welterweight TJ Waldburger (16-7, fighting out of Belton, Texas). Montreal’s Yves Jabouin (18-8) will also challenge bantamweight Dustin Pague (11-8, fighting out of Dulles, Virginia). Two other lightweight fights include Sam Stout (20-8-1, fighting out of London, Ontario) against Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-3-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico), and Mitch Clarke (9-2, fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta) versus John Maguire (18-5, fighting out of Cambridge England).