Renan Barao successfully defended his UFC interim bantamweight title, submitting Michael McDonald in the fourth round of the UFC on FUEL TV 7 main event at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday night.
The defending interim champ brought the fight to the ground and sank an arm-triangle choke, forcing McDonald to tap out at 3:57 of the round.
“I feel great,” Barao said following his win in the United Kingdom. “That was a lot of hard work.”
Barao got the takedown early in the first round, working in guard until McDonald was able to get back to the feet. Both fighters had moments of punching flurries, going back and forth halfway through the frame. McDonald stunned his opponent, letting free with a combination, but was taken down shortly after. The round finished on the ground, and was razor-close for the entire five-minute period.
McDonald continued pressuring the interim champ, opening up a cut over Barao’s right eye, but the Brazilian scored a takedown thereafter. Once back on the feet, an eye-poke by Barao paused the action, but they continued and traded strikes. Barao landed a front kick that backed his opponent up, but McDonald responded with a flurry before the end of the round.
Barao pressured the challenger, moving side to side and forward with a combinations of punches. He got the takedown and tried to gain mount, but McDonald bumped him off and returned to a standing fight. The champ landed a spinning-back kick in the final 30 seconds of the third round that sent McDonald reeling backwards.
McDonald stuffed a takedown in the first minute of the fourth round, but Barao kept moving forward to land combinations of strikes. McDonald had a bloody nose, and Barao continued throwing punches and kicks. Barao clinched and tossed McDonald, getting the fight to the ground where he secured the American’s back. From there, Barao transitioned to mount, wrapped up his opponent’s head and arm, and sank in the arm triangle for the finish.
“Domincik Cruz, I’m waiting for you,” Barao said, pleading for the current 135-pound champ to return from injury soon.
With the win, Barao retains the interim bantamweight title and maintains a 30-fight unbeaten streak.
Cub Swanson (18-5) vs. Dustin Poirier (13-2)
Cub Swanson went the distance to beat Dustin Poirier by unanimous decision in the co-main event at UFC on FUEL TV 7 on Saturday.
Swanson used a mixture of strikes on the feet, as well as superior ground technique to earn the decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Swanson was active early on, throwing several haymaker punches. Poirier began to counter then went for a single-leg before clinching against the cage. Swanson landed an uppercut that shook Poirier, but was taken to ground again in the final minute of the round.
Round 2 began with Swanson landing body shots. He continued to pressure his opponent until Poirier clinched him up against the cage. After a failed spinning-back fist by Swanson, Poirier scored a double-leg takedown. The fight returned to the feet, however, where the fighters traded punches and kicks through the end of the round.
Poirier began to land more strikes as the third round began, landing combinations on the feet. Swanson scored a takedown, working in his opponent’s guard and landing elbows before transitioning to the back. Poirier attempted shaking his opponent off, but Swanson scrambled to mount. Poirier recovered and got back to his feet, but Swanson got him down again with a head-and-arm toss in the final minute before time expired.
With the win, Swanson scores his fourth win in a row and will likely be in talks about being the No. 1 contender to Jose Aldo’s featherweight title.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate
Cyrille Diabate injured himself in the first round and was unable to continue before the second to give Jimi Manuwa the TKO-win in their UFC on FUEL main card fight on Saturday.
Manuwa got the takedown early in the first round, keeping top control for a lengthy time before returning to the feet. He continued to pressure Diabate, landing a mixture of strikes before getting another takedown prior to the round ending.
Diabate was unable to answer the bell before Round 2 began due to a leg injury, giving Manuwa the technical knockout and 13th win to add to his undefeated record.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago
Gunnar Nelson shut out Jorge Santiago to earn a unanimous decision at UFC on FUEL in London on Saturday.
Nelson kept his hands low, but scored a takedown in the first round while his opponent tried to find his range. The second round had Nelson apply another takedown just past the first minute, landing strikes from top position thereafter and passing the guard to mount before the round ended. Santiago found success landing strikes on the feet in the third, but Nelson reacted well and landed punches to earn the win.
Judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
James Te Huna (15-5) vs. Ryan Jimmo (17-1)
James Te Huna defeated Ryan Jimmo by unanimous decision in their main card fight at UFC on FUEL TV 7.
Te Huna recovered from a first-round headkick, taking down Jimmo in the second and third rounds which opened up a heavy ground-and-pound assault. Judges scored the fight 29-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Che Mills vs. Matt Riddle
Matt Riddle won a split decision over Che Mills in the UFC on FUEL opening main card fight. Riddle neutralized Mills’ stand-up, bringing the fight to the ground on numerous occasions and controlling from that position.
Judges scored the fight 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27, giving the American a win over the homeland fighter.
Preliminary Bouts (on Facebook):
Renee Forte def. Terry Etim by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Danny Castillo def. Paul Sass by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Andy Ogle def. Josh Grispi by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Tom Watson def. Stanislov Nedkov by TKO at 4:42, Round 2
Vaughan Lee def. Motonobu Tezuka by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Phil Harris def. Ulysses Gomez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
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