Urijah Faber to face Renan Barao

Updated: May 19, 2012, 10:32 AM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

Bantamweight contender Urijah Faber will face Renan Barao for the 135-pound interim title July 7 at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, the promotion announced Friday night during a broadcast of "The Ultimate Fighter."

Faber (26-5) originally was scheduled to face lineal bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at the event, but Cruz suffered a torn ACL during training camp and pulled out of the bout earlier this month.

"I'm just excited to have a new opponent," Faber said. "Now that I have someone to focus on and game-plan, it gets me motivated.

"(My training) will definitely change. (Cruz and Barao) are polar opposites. Barao is a guy who starts hard and looks for the finish right away, but seems to fade a little bit as the fight goes on.

"Dominick is really tricky, has great conditioning and is always looking to outpoint in a long fight."

ESPN.com ranks Faber -- a former WEC featherweight champion -- second among bantamweights. He and Cruz have fought twice in the past, with each winning once.

Faber and Cruz are rival coaches on this season's TUF series. Barao (28-1, with one no contest) is the third-ranked bantamweight. He has won all five of his fights under the Zuffa, LLC banner.

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