The main event of the UFC on FUEL TV 7: "Barao vs. McDonald" event today (Sat., Feb. 16, 2013) at Wembley Arena in London, England, featured Brazilian badass Renan Barao putting his Interim bantamweight championship on the line against rising star Michael McDonald.
With real champion Dominick Cruz still on the sidelines with a knee injury, this was the best we could get in the meantime. Plus, it represented the first time a title would be defended on FUEL TV, notable if only because it was free.
The bout opened with the Brazilian landing an early takedown, perhaps wanting to test McDonald on the mat. He never really got the chance, though, as "Mayday" completely locked up his arms before using his legs to push himself out and jump back to his feet before sustaining any damage whatsoever.
I'm not even sure the takedown itself was worthy of points after McDonald completely shut him down off his back.
Once they got to standing and reset, McDonald picked his spots and blitzed Barao with a flurry of huge punches that may or may not have earned a knockdown. Barao clinched and looked to shoot underneath for a takedown but he was taking shots and buckling to his knees while doing so.
Eventually, he recovered and got McDonald down again, which is where the round ended.
Quite possibly the most difficult round Barao has faced in years.
The second round saw both men utilize a far more measured attack. Patience was the name of the game throughout, as neither fighter was overly willing to commit and it there were points when it was obvious why, such as Barao just brushing McDonald's face on a front kick that could have been fatal had it landed flush.
Barao started opening up his attack during the third and fourth rounds, digging deeper into his bag of tricks in lieu of the toned down approach he had taken in the opening couple of frames. He landed clean with a spinning back kick a few times while McDonald looked for his spots to counter.
They simply weren't there.
A failed counter on a takedown led to a nifty transition that had Barao locking in an arm triangle with just over one minute remaining in the fourth. After initially signaling that he was okay, McDonald tapped.
Barao wins yet another one and sets up a date with Cruz.
That one should be fun.
For complete UFC on FUEL TV 7 results and coverage of all the night's action click here.