UFC on FUEL TV 7: Barao vs. McDonald Saturday, February 16 – 5:00 p.m. ET
Wembley Arena – London, England
Renan Barao (31-1) vs. Michael McDonald (15-1) Interim bantamweight championship bout
Line: Barao -300, McDonald +250
The interim holder of the bantamweight belt Renan Barao will look to defend his title for the first time against Michael McDonald on Saturday in London.
Neither of these fighters is used to losing, as both have just one career defeat. Barao won the interim belt with a decision victory against Urijah Faber, a strong showing to follow up his decision victory against Scott Jorgensen. McDonald is coming off a KO of Miguel Angel Torres, coming after another KO of Alex Soto that gave him Knockout of the Night honors. Barao has looked unflappable and has fought higher-level foes, but McDonald also has the power to end a fight at any moment, as evidenced by his past two fights. McDonald also stands at 5-foot-9, giving him a sizable three-inch height advantage, something that could be critical for helping him land this upset. Given the help from the odds, take McDONALD to win this one.
Barao’s only career loss was his first career fight, and excluding one no contest, he has won every bout since then. With 13 submissions to his name, he is an expert grappler, though against higher-level foes he has just shown the desire to just fight it out and take it to the judges. He is technically precise in the Octagon and doesn’t give his opponents much of a chance to make a move, combining those submission skills with a strong striking game that helps keep opposing fighters at bay. And even though he’s just 5-foot-6, his 70-inch reach matches that of McDonald. Watching his impressive Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai is a treat for any MMA fan, and Saturday night should be no different.
McDonald is an explosive fighter who will look to blast his way to the interim title, fighting aggressively and looking to knock out Barao. He has won eight in a row and has never lost at the UFC level. He needs to not get caught up in Barao’s tactics and get worn down, which Barao has done effectively to his past few opponents, setting up easy decision victories. "Mayday" McDonald, however, has shown the ability to adapt to the tempo of any fight and needs to further that flexibility in this one because of Barao’s top-notch defense skills. All McDonald needs is one opportunity to land a big blow and take home the belt, and as such a heavy underdog, play on him to do just that.