Renan Barao loves to dance.
On his way to the cage and after his second win over Urijah Faber, Barao boogied like nobody was watching him at UFC 169 on Saturday in Newark, N.J. The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s bantamweight titleholder had good reason for the pep in his step. Barao’s bout with Faber was his first as undisputed champion and served as a rematch of a July 2012 clash in which the Brazilian dominated. Atop the UFC 169 bill, the Nova Uniao shuffle was on full display.
There was a time when Barao always used DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” as his walkout song; that time has passed. The higher Barao climbed on the UFC’s bantamweight ladder, the more obscure the music to which he walked to the cage became. At UFC 169, winning was not enough, as Barao picked versatile Brazilian group Banda Grafith for his walkout music.
Loosely translated from Portuguese to English, Banda Grafith’s “Sou Grafiteiro por Amor” means “I’m a Graffiti Artist in Love.” Looking to impart some physical graffiti on the skull of Faber, Barao’s upbeat disco rock music selection put the Brazilian in the mood to defend his UFC title.
One of the most iconic entrances in all of MMA, Faber’s walk to the cage becomes must-see TV as soon as Roger Troutman’s auto-tune voice drops. Fighting out of Sacramento, Calif., Faber is unofficially tied to the rap verses of 2Pac and Dr. Dre on the 1995 hit single “California Love.” Now 37 fights into his MMA career, their is little to no chance Faber switches his walkout music to, say, “Hotel California” by The Eagles or “California Waiting” by Kings of Leon.
The main event of UFC 169 lasted less than four minutes, as Barao dropped Faber twice with punches. A right hand followed by hammerfists on the ground led to the Brazilian’s TKO win, with Faber left clinging to the champion’s leg. Afterward, Barao’s lovely victory dance made up for what it lacked in technical prowess with the enthusiasm that comes with staying unbeaten in your last 32 fights.
Jose Aldo’s lightning-fast striking combinations seem immune to all negative walkout music momentum. Prior to Aldo’s UFC featherweight title defense, two other fighters on the undercard entered the arena to tracks by New York rapper Jay-Z. Frank Mir’s “Forever Young” pick and Danny Martinez’s “U Don’t Know” selection both resulted in less than favorable results from the judges sitting cageside. Walking out to the same song for his entire UFC championship run, Aldo remains a loyal advocate of Jay-Z’s 2009 jam “Run This Town.”
On a four-fight winning streak, featherweight Ricardo Lamas waited patiently for a year for his crack at UFC gold. For the first championship walkout of his career, Lamas went with a classic Mexican song. From the tropical music assembly Sonora Santanera, “De Mexico a la Habana” is one of the bigger hits from a group that has been recording music for more than 55 years.
Over the course of 25 minutes, Aldo dissected Lamas in the standup game. On the feet, Aldo battered Lamas’ lead leg and threatened with a takedown to rear-naked choke submission attempt in the fourth round. All three judges scored the fight for Aldo, 49-46. The only 145-pound champion the UFC has ever known, Aldo’s rule over the division may see the Brazilian’s next fight take place at lightweight versus fellow champion Anthony Pettis.
On the UFC 169 undercard, British middleweight Tom Watson stole the show, even in defeat. Meat Loaf’s epic rock ballad “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” echoed through the arena loudspeakers as Watson strutted to the cage. The image of Watson walking out in a King Kong gorilla mask while Meat Loaf crooned romantic lyrics will be burned into the eyes of MMA fans for decades to come.
UFC 169 Walkout SongsRenan Barao: Banda Grafith “Sou Grafiteiro por Amor” 25 Anos (2013)
Urijah Faber: 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman “California Love” All Eyez on Me (1995)
Jose Aldo: Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West “Run This Town” The Blueprint 3 (2009)
Ricardo Lamas: Sonora Santanera “De Mexico a la Habana” 16 Exitos (1992)
Alistair Overeem: Eva Shaw “Charizma” FLYE121 (2013)
Frank Mir: Jay-Z feat. Mr. Hudson “Forever Young” The Blueprint 3 (2009)
Jamie Varner: Dropkick Murphys “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” Warriors Code (2005)
John Makdessi: Armin van Buuren feat. Fiora “Waiting for the Night” Intense (2013)
Chris Cariaso: DMX “Lord Give Me a Sign” Year of the Dog … Again (2006)
Danny Martinez: Jay-Z “U Don’t Know” The Blueprint (2001)
Nick Catone: Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” Beggars Banquet (1968)
Al Iaquinta: Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss “New York” R.U.L.E. (2004)
Clint Hester: Lil Scrappy feat. Lil Jon “Head Bussa” Trillville & Lil Scrappy (2004)
Andy Enz: Macklemore “Ten Thousand Hours” The Heist (2012)
Tony Martin: Brian McKnight “Win” Men of Honor Soundtrack (2000)
Neil Magny: Fort Minor “Remember the Name” The Rising Tide (2005)
Tom Watson: Meat Loaf “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993)
Tommy Messano is the editor-in-chief of ULTMMA.com. You can contact him on Twitter at @ULTMMA.