UFC on Fuel TV 7 Preview

UFC-on-Fuel-TV-7-posterInjuries have taken their toll on the UFC and they have affected some of the top fighters in the world. Georges St. Pierre has just come back from his knee injury after a year layoff and now another champion will be sidelined for the better part of a year. Dominick Cruz first tore his ACL while filming The Ultimate Fighter with Urijah Faber in May of 2011. Since then he has had unsuccessful surgery and has not fought since October 2011. He remains out with complications due to his body rejecting one ACL surgery and will likely remain out for the better part of 2013. Without the champion in the mix the Bantamweight division will feature an interim champion for the near future. This champion is a fighter that many saw as the biggest challenge that Cruz would ever face. After his scheduled match with Urijah Faber Cruz likely would have faced Renan Barao is Cruz had held his belt. With Cruz out of the picture Barao would get his shot earlier than thought when he would take on Urijah Faber at UFC 149 for the interim belt. Now Barao holds the belt as the champion of the Bantamweight division and with Cruz remaining out until the end of 2013 he will begin a title run. He may not be the true champion unless he can beat Cruz he will remain the interim champion and will have his first title defence this week. Barao will take the interim belt to the UK where he will take on Michael McDonald for the interim belt. It will be a fight of two fighters that have gone undefeated in the UFC since they came into the promotion. Barao first fought in the UFC in 2011 and since that first fight at UFC 130 Barao has gone 4-0 including his interim title bout with Urijah Faber. Meanwhile Michael McDonald started his UFC career around the same time and has also gone 4-0 with two KO victories. Only one of these fighters will end his winning streak while the other will walk away with a belt and a date with Dominick Cruz. Both fighters are considered two of the best rising stars in the Bantamweight division and for good reason with plenty of talent entering the octagon at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Renan Barao will enter the octagon with a very well-rounded game with standup and wrestling that has made him a force. With a background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Barao is great on the mat but that does not limit him as he is more than comfortable standing. This was shown when he took on Urijah Faber when Barao stood with one of the best strikers in the division and won the fight. He will take his well-rounded game into the octagon against another world-class striker. Michael McDonald may not be the most technical striker but his power makes everyone wary of standing with him. Unlike Faber McDonald does not use multiple strikes to wear people down as he can easily take one punch to end a fight. For this reason Barao may be more inclined to take the fight to the ground although there is no doubt he will test the stand up game of McDonald to start the fight. Although the fight will start standing Barao is very good at imposing his will and he will try to do the same in this fight. Expect the fight to start on the feet for the first round and a half until Barao gets tagged with a big shot. It will not send Barao down and end the fight bt it will make Barao think twice about staying on the feet in this fight. Barao will take McDonald down and grind out a very close win to remain the interim bantamweight champion and earn a shot at the real title against Dominick Cruz.

As the UFC goes back to Britain they once again feature some of the best European fighters in the UFC that only get looked at on these trips. European fighters do not get a lot of chances to fight on the other side of the world for a number of reasons. Visas to earn money in the USA along with travelling from their training facilities to fight make it difficult for fighters to make their names in North American. This is why the UFC saw the value in fights overseas allowing fighters from Europe to show what they brought to the UFC. Two of these fighters will see their chance to shine once again in the UFC on Fuel TV this week. First up will be Gunnar Nelson who will fight in his second UFC fight. The product of Iceland was impressive in his first fight when he beat DaMarques Johnson with a first round submission at UFC on Fuel TV 5 in Nottingham England. Now he takes on Jorge Santiago in his second UFC fight and with a win could become a fast rising star and begin earning bigger fights that make it worthwhile for the trip to North America. The next fighter trying to make his mark is one of the most hyped English fighters in the UFC. Jimi Manuwa made his UFC debut at UFC on Fuel TV 5 against Kyle Kingsbury and impressed forcing the doctor to stop the fight in the second round. After years of hearing about the standup game of Manuwa the UFC finally got their chance to see him and now they get another shot to see what he can bring to the UFC. He will take on Cyrille Diabate in a fight that will have much of the same effect as a win by Gunnar Nelson. It is another fight card full of fighters that are looking to impress in the UFC and that usually leads to great fights in another free promotion.

 

Fight Card:

Main Event:
Renan Barao vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald [Interim Bantamweight Title] (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

 

Main Card:
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

Jimi “Poster Boiy” Manuwa vs. Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson vs. Jorge “The Sandman” Santiago (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

James Te Huna vs. Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

“Beautiful” Che Mills vs. Matthew “Deep Waters” Riddle (Fuel TV/Sportsnet)

 

Undercard:
Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte (Facebook)

Paul Sass vs. Danny “Last Call” Castillo (Facebook)

Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle vs. Josh “The Fluke” Grispi (Facebook)

Tom “Kong” Watson vs. Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov (Facebook)

Vaughan Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka (Facebook)

Phil “Billy” Harris vs. Ulysses “Useless” Gomez (Facebook)

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