There was a time when Renan Barao was the most feared bantamweight on the planet. That time is long past, as Andre Ewell demonstrated at UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday night.
The UFC returned to Brazil Saturday for UFC Fight Night 137, or UFC Sao Paulo, from the Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil. The second fight of the main card saw former UFC Bantamweight Champion and Brazil’s own Renan Barao return to the octagon for the second time this year to face hungry UFC newcomer Andre Ewell. Originally scheduled as a bantamweight contest the fight was moved to a catchweight of 140 lbs after Barao missed weight for the second time in his UFC career. Missed weight badly, in fact, weighing in 5 lbs over the bantamweight non-title limit of 136 lbs.
As the fight got underway, Barao pressed the action but Ewell landed a strong counter punch. Barao walked into that blow, and it dropped him. Ewell pounced, they scrambled, and both men made it back to their feet. Barao recovered quickly and worked in the clinch. The action moved to the fence, where Barao was able to get the takedown. He worked from side control and then half guard, landing knees on Ewell. Barao started to unload with his hands from the top. More often than not, they hit their mark. Ewell worked his way to the fence to try to explode out, but Barao was onto his plan, and adjusted position. The former champ stepped over and took full mount, landing a few punches then jumping into and armbar attempt. Ewell defended and rolled but Barao held on and kept the armbar in place. Ewell exploded again, escaping the submission but Barao stayed on top as the round came to an end.
Barao opened the second with some body kicks to keep Ewell at range, but Ewell moved in with a 1-2 combo that hit the mark. Both men looked a little more tentative compared to the first. Ewell continued to land, and pushed Barao back with a leaping left hand. He continued to land strikes, while Barao answered back with kick. Ewell started to change levels with his punches landing to Barao’s body and Barao answered back with more kicks. Barao moved in, changed levels, and went for the take down that Ewell initially defended, but Barao held on to finish it. Barao worked from half guard then, and landed a few punches as the horn sounded to end the round.
In the third, Ewell jumped in with left, right combo that made Barao back away. Ewell landed a hard left, and right again that pushed Barao back once more. Ewell looked like he was landing every left hand that he threw. Barao whiffed on a front kick and Ewell leaped forward again and just missed the mark. Ewell rushed in landing a right, and Barao fired back. Then, Ewell landed another left that looked to hurt Barao! The two exchanged and Ewell landed a front kick that appeared to hurt Barao again. Barao fired off a spin kick that just missed the mark, and the two exchanged in a flurry to end the round and the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) September 23, 2018
Come the scorecards, Ewell had done the unthinkable: won a split decision, in Brazil, against a former Brazilian UFC champion, and one of the all-time bantamweight greats!
Andre Ewell def. Renan Barão by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)