UFC 138 took place on November 5, 2011 from Birmingham, England. The co-main event was a bantamweight bout between Renan Barao and
Both fighters were imports from the WEC organization. This would be Pickett’s debut in the UFC, and Barao’s 2nd fight. In his first UFC fight Barao won a unanimous decision over Cole Escovedo. The bantamweight division was still relatively new to the UFC, so fight fans were anxious to see what this smaller weight class could bring to the table.
Round 1: Both fighters meet in the center of the ring, and almost instantly, they both start swinging for the fences. The first 20 seconds is intense action as both Barao and Pickett duke it out blow for blow. Barao gets the better of the exchanges, landing 2 or 3 hard punches to Pickett’s head. They separate briefly, and as Pickett closes the distance Barao throws a wicked spinning back kick that Pickett is able to block with his gloves. They meet back in the center and things calm slightly as they square off. They both attempt a couple of jabs, neither landing, then a few seconds later they go right back at it again. Pickett lands 1 or 2 shots this time around, then they back off. They circle each other in the center, just feeling each other out. The action slows slightly, but both Barao and Pickett continue trading in the center of the ring. They are throwing jabs, hooks, and leg kicks. Neither one doing any major damage.
Pickett starts to get more aggressive, throwing more punches and backing Barao up. Pickett continues to move forward, while Barao attempts to catch him with counter punches. Both men are fighting more technical at this point, neither are throwing haymakers. Barao continues to circle backwards on the outside as Pickett moves forward. He catches Pickett with a few leg kicks, but Pickett continues to move forward, stalking Barao and looking to open up on him with punches. Barao puts together a nice combination of punches that finally moves Pickett back into the cage.
They re-engage and Barao attempts 4 or 5 straight punches. Neither lands, but Pickett is moving his head to duck the punches when Barao catches him with a strong knee to the head. The knee wobbles Pickett, who drops down to the canvas on his back. Barao rushes him immediately and starts dropping bombs to Pickett’s face. Barao throws 9 or 10 punches, landing several strong shots. The ref looks like he’s going to stop it at any minute, but Pickett rolls over, giving up his back. Barao, looking like a panther on a hunt, quickly takes Pickett’s back and sinks the hooks in. Barao is trying to sink in a rear-naked choke, but Pickett is defending it.
Pickett struggles, trying to survive the round with one minute left, but Barao is relentless, striking Pickett from behind until finally he is able to sink in the rear choke. With Barao’s arms fully around his neck, Pickett holds on for as long as he can. His face is visibly turning pink and he fights the choke for a few seconds, but eventually, Barao’s grip is too tight, and Pickett is forced to tapout. Referee Leon Roberts steps in and separates the two. Renan Barao is the winner, defeating Brad Pickett in Round 1 by submission.