Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber, which took place on Feb. 1 from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Renan Barao vs. Raphael Assuncao

Urijah Faber just can’t catch a break. “The California Kid” lost his sixth title bout (counting those in the WEC) on Saturday against Renan Barao. The finish came as Barao landed punches while Faber was blocking and giving a thumbs up, but referee Herb Dean had seen enough to stop the fight in the first round.

Barao continues to prove his dominance in the UFC. The Brazilian has now finished his last three opponents. The question now is, who is up next to face the bantamweight champion?

There is no clear frontrunner at this point, but the favorite has to be Raphael Assuncao, who has won his last five fights since moving to 135 pounds. First, however, he’ll have to get past Francisco Rivera at UFC 170 on Feb. 22.

With a sixth consecutive win, the Brazilian can’t be denied a title shot. Even if Dominick Cruz quickly returns to full health, the injury-plagued former champion, who has been out of action since 2011, will need a warm-up fight first before getting a title shot.

There is another name being thrown around for a possible shot at Barao. That man is Faber’s teammate, T.J. Dillashaw. However, a win over Mike Easton isn’t enough to punch Dillashaw’s ticket to a title bid. Also, Assuncao already holds a win over the Team Alpha Male product, which gives the Brazilian the upper hand in the discussion at this point.

Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

Featherweight champion Jose Aldo proved once again that he is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world by defeating Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision at UFC 169.

Aldo won four of five rounds over a 25-minute span to defend his UFC belt for the sixth time. Many opportunities will open for Aldo after he takes out the top featherweight contenders, but there’s one guy who deserves another shot at the champion.

Yes, Chad Mendes was knocked out by Aldo with one second remaining in the first round of their previous meeting, but Mendes has won five fights in a row since that loss. Three of those W’s came against top-10 featherweights, so there’s no reason why the Team Alpha Male member shouldn’t get another opportunity.

Everyone is talking about Aldo fighting Anthony Pettis. That is certainly an intriguing fight, but there will be time to make that pairing in the future. Let’s see Aldo-Mendes II, then turn our attention towards that superfight.

Alistair Overeem vs. Stipe Miocic

It may not have been the knockout that many anticipated, but Alistair Overeem picked up a much-needed decision victory on Saturday against Frank Mir.

“The Reem” has some work to do to reach the top five of the division. Currently ranked No. 9 at heavyweight, Overeem has to defeat another ranked adversary in order to work towards regaining his place among the division’s elite. A fight against Stipe Miocic makes the most sense for him.

Miocic is coming off back-to-back wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga to insert himself into the mix, but he needs a statement win to get him over the hump. A win over one of the most feared strikers in heavyweight history would put him within reach for a title shot.

Ali Bagautinov vs. John Moraga

Flyweight Ali Bagautinov took another step towards the top by defeating John Lineker via unanimous decision.

“Puncher King” is now 3-0 in the UFC. He’s in the driver’s seat to fight for the belt, but he needs one more win to helps his chances. It could come against John Moraga.

Moraga bounced back from his title defeat against Demetrious Johnson by edging out Dustin Ortiz via split decision, and he remains in a good position at No. 4 in the rankings.

As for the next title challenger for “Mighty Mouse”? That honor will likely go to the winner of the fight between Ian McCall and Brad Pickett, who are expected to meet on March 8. McCall and Pickett have a better immediate chance at dethroning the champion, which allows Bagautinov more time to grow his name.

Abel Trujillo vs. Bobby Green

The lone excitement of UFC 169 came courtesy of Abel Trujillo, who pocketed $125,000 in bonus money by earning both Knockout and Fight of the Night honors.

After losing round one, Trujillo came back in the second to knock out Jamie Varner with a stunning left hand. This is the second straight win for Trujillo, who has made a statement to the lightweight division.

Varner stepped up in place of Bobby Green, who pulled out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. Once Green sorts out the issues that prevented him from competing, he should be paired up with Trujillo.

When the bout was announced, many fans were very excited about the possibility of the two feared strikers stepping inside the Octagon. After Green’s impressive run, to go along with Trujillo’s own impressive victories, it makes a lot of sense. It’s guaranteed fireworks when these two collide.

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.