In the main event of UFC on Fuel 7, Renan Barao successfully defended his UFC interim bantamweight title by submitting challenger Michael McDonald with a fourth-round arm-triangle choke. The bout was quite competitive from the opening bell, with the first round being very close. Barao took over a bit to probably win the second and third rounds with some unique striking and timely takedowns. Then came the fourth round.
When Barao went for a takedown, McDonald fought it off but gave up his back. Barao took it and tried to sink hooks while McDonald flattened out and rolled into guard. As soon as he did, Barao took advantage of the small window of opportunity and latched on an arm-triangle choke. After initially saying he was okay, eventually McDonald was forced to tap out. The finish came at 3:57 of the round.
What was the high point of the fight?
Either the finish, or the variety of kicks that Barao landed to draw some blood from McDonald's nose.
Where do they go from here?
Depending on the health of the current bantamweight champion, Barao could be meeting Dominick Cruz in a unification bout in the summer. If Cruz isn't ready by then, it's slim pickings to see who might be in a position to step up. I'd expect it to be Eddie Wineland if that's the case, but clearly the UFC wants Cruz vs. Barao at this point.
McDonald is only 22 and will learn from this loss. There are a few guys he could face off with in his return, but I think Wineland would be the best machup if Cruz/Barao does go down. If not, he could meet either the winner of the Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar bout this weekend, or the winner of the Brad Pickett vs. Mike Easton bout at UFC on Fuel 9.
Watch now, later, or never?
Now. It wasn't exactly a barnburner, but there was enough sustained speed and action to entertain you for 20 minutes or so. And the finish was very nice.