This coming February 16th, roughly 10 days from now, the UFC returns with their UFC on FUEL TV 7 event from London headlined by the interim bantamweight title bout between Brazilian Renan Barao (29-1-1) and Michael Mcdonald (15-1). Though the card is not far away, the lines aren’t up at many of the books yet, so let’s look at the main event match.
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Barao is teammates with UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo and the comparisons have been made between the two before. Barao is a very complete fighter who has won 29 fights in a row since dropping his MMA debut back in April of 2005, and at just 25 years old has earned himself the title of ‘phenom’. His last fight, against long time top name Urijah Faber solidified his position as a top dog and as interim champion. He was scheduled to challenge for Dominick Cruz’s title, until Cruz got hurt and was forced to pull out of the fight multiple times.
McDonald is considered the challenger, however it is interesting to notice that a lot of what can be said about Barao can be said about McDonald as well. McDonald has experience in MMA at 15-1 that are beyond his 22 years. His youth and athleticism should help him overcome any ring rst that might develop, since he has been off since April of 2012. That fight, a decisive KO win over Miguel Torres is his signature win, and Torres was at one time considered the top Bantamweight on the planet.
When the lines come in at the sportsbooks, Barao will likely be favored, as the current belt holder and as a result of respect for his winning streak and overall fighting experience.
Talent wise, this is a near pick em fight. Barao will have some speed advantages, and he has the experience of going a full five rounds with Faber, but McDonald is unlikely to gas. McDonald will be slightly taller and is likely to enjoy a reach advantage, and his career KO ratio is excellent. If it turns into a fire fight, McDonald has a shot.
McDonald may also be able to wear down Barao in the long course of the fight, again using some of his physical advantages and energy reserve. If the lines open at say 2 to 1 for Barao and begins to widen, Michael McDonald becomes a very live underdog.