Top Contender Determined in London (UFC on Fuel TV 7 Review)

12_Barao_McDonald_21The UFC has been ravaged by injuries in the past two years and as the injuries continued to pile up one division saw the brunt of it. The Bantamweight division has essentially been without a champion for a little more than a year with Dominick Cruz sitting on the sidelines. As the champion was sidelined the interim belt would be up for grabs between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. Barao would take the fight and the belt and would then wait for Cruz to get healthy. Due to setbacks in Cruz’s recovery Barao would be put in a unique situation as he would need to defend his interim championship. It is not done too often in the UFC as the interim championships are not meant to be defended. Usually an interim championship is simply a way to save a fight when a champion gets hurt. When this champion gets hurt the challenger still receives a fight, usually against the person who would be the next in line for a shot. This fight will stand as the interim title and gives whoever wins the belt a date with the champion when they get healthy. The problem with the Bantamweight division was that after Barao’s win Cruz would suffer a setback after surgery on his injured ACL. So without a champion to fight for another six months Barao would have to fight and would have to defend his interim title against the next contender. This contender would be Michael McDonald, a rising star in the Bantamweight division with power to knockout anyone in the division. The fight would take place in London as the UFC would return to the UK for UFC on Fuel TV 7. At stake would be the interim title and a date with Dominick Cruz if he can get healthy within the year to determine the undisputed UFC Bantamweight Division. It would be a good matchup with two well-rounded fighters that both had places they wanted to keep the fight. McDonald has a wrestling background but his true comfort zone has always been on his feet where he can use his power to win fights. With McDonald holding more power Barao would prefer to have the fight on the mat where he can use his BJJ background to grind out a win. The fight would start with both fighters exchanging on the feet but that wouldn’t last for long. Barao would look for the takedown early and earned one at the beginning of the first round. It would not last long but Barao would earn another takedown later and would win the round. The fight would remain this way for the next three rounds. Barao would continue to try to take down McDonald and most times would not be able to keep him down. Still the takedowns counted and McDonald was brought into rounds that he was not used to. Barao would begin getting the better of the fight on the feet with McDonald clearly losing steam. The fourth round would start with McDonald needing to do something big to win the fight but would get caught by Barao. The champion would take McDonald to the mat once again but this time to slip into an arm triangle. After 25 seconds in the hold McDonald would finally concede and would tap out losing his chance at the interim title. With the loss McDonald will remain one of the better Bantamweights but will have to wait for another title shot. Meanwhile Barao would take the win and would earn a date with Dominick Cruz later this year for the undisputed Bantamweight Championship.

Before the interim championship would be decided the UFC would feature a number of European fighters that use these fights as a showcase. With so many great European fighters unable to fight in North America fights in the UK or in the rest of Europe are used as places to show their talents. Two of these fighters would get their shots in their second fights in the UFC. Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson both began their UFC careers in the UK at UFC on Fuel TV 5. Now they would get another shot to impress as they get another shot in the UFC to move up their divisions. First would be Gunnar Nelson who would take on UFC newcomer Jorge Santiago as Nelson was looking to showcase his ground game once again. Nelson wouldn’t get that shot as he would meet a very good fighter in Santiago who would push him to the limit. Nelson would win the ugly fight by unanimous decision and remained undefeated even if he couldn’t be as exciting as he wanted to be. The After Nelson got his win Jimi Manuwa would fight in his home country looking for another exciting finish. He would take on UFC veteran Cyrille Diabate in an exciting fight. Near the end of the first round just as the fight was heating up Manuwa would earn a takedown and land on Diabate’s leg. After the first round Diabate would realize that his calf muscle was torn and that he could not put any weight on it and would be forced to drop out of the fight. It was somewhat anti-climactic and not the way Manuwa wanted to win but it was still a win and kept the undefeated streak alive. Both fighters came into the night looking to impress and neither really did what they set out to do. Still both would win and remain undefeated and will look for their next shot at making an impression. They are two young fighters that need to be watched as both look to be on their way to making a big impression in the near future.

 

Fight Bonuses

Submission of the Night
Renan Barao would win the Submission of the Night for his Arm Triangle victory against Michael McDonald that would come in the fourth round and would keep Barao at the top of the Bantamweight list as the interim champion

Knockout of the Night
The KO of the Night would go to an undercard fight that impressed a lot of people as Tom Watson would earn a big KO that would get everyone up on their feet beating Stanislav Nedkov in the second round

Fight of the Night
Tom Watson would not settle for the KO if the Night as he and Nedkov would win the Fight of the Night as well for their two round war where Nedkov would dominate in the first round and Watson would end the fight in the second

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Renan Barao def. Michael “Mayday” McDonald [Interim Bantamweight Title]
(Submission; Arm Triangle, Rd. 4)

 

Main Card:
Cub Swanson def. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier
(Unanimous Decision)

Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa def. Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate
(TKO: Forfeit, Rd. 1)

Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson def. Jorge “The Sandman” Santiago
(Unanimous Decision)

James Te Huna def. Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo
(Unanimous Decision)

Matthew “Deep Waters” Riddle def. “Beautiful” Che Mills
(Split Decision)

 

Undercard:
Renee Forte def. Terry Etim
(Unanimous Decision)

Danny “Last Call” Castillo def. Paul Sass
(Unanimous Decision)

Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle def. Josh “The Fluke” Grispi
(Unanimous Decision)

Tom “Kong” Watson def. Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov
(TKO, Rd. 2)

Vaughan Lee def. Motonobu Tezuka
(Unanimous Decision)

Phil “Billy” Harris def. Ulysses “Useless” Gomez
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Upcoming Events: 

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche (Saturday February 23rd; 10:00 pm EST)
– Anaheim, California (Honda Center)
Main Event: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. Liz “Girlzilla” Carmouche [Women’s Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. Dan “Hendo” Henderson
Notable: Urijah “The California Kid” Faber vs. Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar

UFC on Fuel TV 8: Silva vs. Stann (Saturday March 2nd; 10:00 pm EST)
– Tokyo, Japan (Saitama Super Arena)
Main Event: Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva vs. Brian “All American” Stann
Notable: Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve
Notable: Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi vs. Diego “The Dream” Sanchez

UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz (Saturday March 16th; 10:00 pm EST)
– Montreal, Quebec (Bell Centre)
Main Event: Georges “Rush” St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz [Welterweight Title]
Notable: Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs. Rory “Ares” MacDonald
Notable: Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger

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