- Associated Press - Sunday, February 2, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Renan Barao was on a tear, trying to put away Urijah Faber with a series of fists to the head.

Faber attempted to flash a thumbs up - a sign he could still fight. Barao and an early stoppage didn’t let him get that chance.

Barao made quick work of Faber in his latest title defense, dropping the challenger with a right and pummeling him with a series of shots to the head while retaining his 135-pound championship in the main event of UFC 169 on Saturday night.

Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight once Barao pounced on Faber and pounded away on The California Kid. Barao won by TKO at 3:22 in the first round and had Faber in all kinds of trouble from the start. But Faber said he could have kept fighting and wanted the chance to continue in the five-round bout.

“It’s my time,” Barao said. “I never thought the referee could stop the fight early because Urijah looked like he could keep fighting. I landed a great punch, the one good enough (to) keep this belt tight around my waist.”

Jose Aldo retained his 145-pound championship by unanimous decision over Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event. Alistair Overeem beat Frank Mir by UD in a battle of former MMA heavyweight champions at the sold-out Prudential Center for UFC’s Super Bowl weekend show.

Faber dropped to 0 for 6 as the challenger in title bouts since 2008. He choked out Michael McDonald just six weeks ago on a UFC on Fox card, and was pressed into service Saturday night when injury-prone Dominick Cruz pulled out with a torn groin.

Barao rocked him with big rights and never allowed Faber a chance to recover. Barao has defeated Faber twice.

“You get caught with punches, man,” Faber said. “I just wish I had more of a chance.”

UFC President Dana White said Dean shouldn’t have stopped the fight.

“Rarely does he make a mistake,” White said. “He made a mistake tonight. But he’s the best in the business.”

Aldo ran his UFC record to 6-0 on the strength of a series of leg kicks from the opening round. He was only in trouble once, late in the fifth when Lamas finally landed a series of strikes and elbows to the champ. Lamas couldn’t finish him, and his flurry came too late in the bout.

Aldo has won 14 in a row in both UFC and World Extreme Cage Fighting.

The two smaller weight-class fights headlined a card that featured a heavyweight bout that could have been the main event of a PPV five years ago.

Overeem, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, stayed away from the ground game and toyed with Mir for three rounds. He bloodied the former UFC heavyweight champion early in the three-round bout and connected with a hard right in the third. Overeem’s corner yelled at him to “take your time,” and he tried to play it safe with so much on the line.

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