Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
The UK's wait for another UFC title fight has come to an end, as UFC UK officials confirm that Renan Barao will defend his interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald.
After five years of waiting, the UK is getting another title fight, and that means MMA fans are receiving their 3rd title bout NOT on PPV in as many months. Earlier this morning UFC UK officials announced on Twitter several fights for UFC on FUEL TV 7 (AKA UFC London) at Wembley Arena, including the main event of Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald.
Barao took the interim title over Urijah Faber at UFC 149 in Calgary, an opportunity Renan received when champion Dominick Cruz tore his ACL and was out of his fight with Faber. With Cruz out for likely all of 2013 following another knee surgery, this interim belt will almost certainly be defended multiple times.
McDonald possesses gigantic KO power -- he might be the hardest puncher at 135 lbs -- and he earned his title shot by knocking out former #1 BW Miguel Torres at UFC 145. No fight was booked for him in the past few months, and now that McDonald is all healed up and Barao will not be fighting Cruz any time soon, the 21-year-old (he'll be 22 next month) has the chance to become the youngest champion in UFC history.
This is a great decision by the UFC and a great move to put it on free-ish TV. Yes, FUEL does not garner enough ratings, but putting a title matchup like this on FUEL helps legitimize the channel as more than just filler, and that it can hold championship-level fights in the main event.