To many people’s surprise, the bantamweight contest between the former champion and #1 ranked, Renan Barao, and upset-minded underdog, Mitch Gagnon, was fairly competitive heading into the third round. Much of the fight consisted on the feet and clinch with Gagnon and Barao ripping eachother with big punching combinations. Gagnon’s hand speed and tight combinations were evident, specifically hit right uppercut as he landed cleanly on Barao, but “The Baron” was unphased. Barao seemed to last his best shots from the outside with his own punching combinations, and heavy leg kicks that bruised and welted Gagnon’s lead leg.
Gagnon tried to get this fight on the ground to no avail, but Renan Barao’s untouched takedown defense proved superior. Gagnon initiated the clinch several times, but Barao didn’t let him get any offense going, and ultimately stalemated his opponent until the referee could separate them.
Heading into the third round it seemed like there was a pressure for Barao to get a finish in his first appearance since losing the belt. He came noticeably more aggressive, and didn’t seem fatigued in the slightest. Gagnon continued to try and drag the fight down, but Barao used his size and strength wind up on top where he swiftly locked in the arm-triangle for the tap out.
In conclusion, Barao got a much-needed win here, but this was still a good showing for Mitch Gagnon who landed a surprising amount of clean punches. I was very curious to see if he would bring a different striking approach; perhaps something with more head movement, but he looked like the same old Renan Barao, and still as dominant as ever.