The main event at UFC on FUEL TV 7 sees a world title defense on Fuel as Renan Barao (29-1(1) MMA; 4-0 UFC) takes on challenger Michael McDonald (15-1 MMA; 4-0 UFC). This fight is for Barao's Interim Bantamweight title. The five round title fight is the last of six main card fights on Fuel. UFC on FUEL TV 7: Barao vs. McDonald airs live from London this Saturday, February 16. As the show is live from London, note the special start time of 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT.
This is the first defense of the interim belt won by Barao at the abysmal UFC 149 event last summer. At the time, he talked about sitting out with the title and waiting for champion Dominick Cruz to return from injury. But with no time table yet established for Cruz's return, Barao has indeed ended up defending the belt, and against a top challenger too. In a time where a lot of challengers are being gifted title shots, this is a fight where that shot is most definitely warranted.
How do these two stack up?
Barao: 25 years old | 5'7" | 70" reach
McDonald: 22 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Renan Barao is currently on arguably the most incredible run in high level MMA today. He lost his MMA debut in 2005 and has not been beaten since, including runs through the WEC and now UFC. Like pretty much all high level Brazilian fighters in these lower weight classes, Barao is a Nova Uniao product, training alongside many of the best fighters in the world. Recently, he floated the idea of moving up to Featherweight should Jose Aldo make his own jump up to Lightweight. If that happens, I hope we get to see Barao vs. Cruz first, as that is developing into a very intriguing Bantamweight war.
Michael "Mayday" McDonald has suffered a bit due to Barao's lengthy down time. After defeating former champion Miguel Torres in April, McDonald was on the short list of fighters to potentially step in when Cruz was injured. When that shot went to Barao, McDonald got stuck in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting around for a title fight of his own. He gets it here, 10 months after his last fight. McDonald is a 5 year veteran, who holds a number of impressive victories, mostly by TKO. He's a skilled striker who should make for an interesting stand-up opponent for Barao.
Why should you care?
These two match up very well, as both are extremely talented, action-oriented fighters. The world title is just icing on the cake, as this would be a must-watch fight regardless.