By The Numbers
Barao and Faber are both the best in the bantamweight division. No questioning that. Faber has never lost outside of a title fight and Barao hasn't lost a fight since his first. Barao holds a win over Faber and with it captured the interim UFC Bantamweight title. Barao was previously preparing to fight Dominick Cruz until Cruz pulled his groin coming into the fight. They biggest two stats to look at are the submissions and Barao's takedown defense. The two love to hurt opponents and submit them. Faber can use his takedown skills to do this against many opponents, but Barao's takedown defense is almost flawless. Though the winner may get a submission, it's going to come down to whoever has the better hands to set up that sub.
What's at Stake
This is Faber's second and likely last chance to fight Barao for the title, and he's accepting this fight on three week's notice. That takes heart. There's more at stake than just the championship title, though. Barao has been steadily creeping up the top pound for pound list. With Silva and Georges St-Pierre out, it wouldn't be a large stretch of see Barao land in the top three with a solid win. Conversely, Faber has also beaten most of the top competition in the bantamweight division, and a win over Barao would certainly land him in the conversation as a top ten pound for pounder.
Road to Victory
Faber likes to be chased and drop bombs when the opportunity presents. Barao has more options in terms of kicks. Faber seemed prepared with the knowledge of that in their last fight but was unable to properly defend thanks to his low, deep stance. Faber and Barao both like to pick apart and destroy their opponents. Barao does this better than Faber due to the implementation of kicks and knees into his combos. Faber, however, is more apt to planting his feet and landing powerful right hooks. When their foes drop, they use the positional advantages created to lock in submissions. Neither is a stranger to the knockdown to rear naked choke combination. This is going to be a five round war between two man with similar yet wildly differing fighting styles.