The UFC on FUEL TV 7: Barao vs. McDonald card will take place on Saturday afternoon in London. It will be the first time that a UFC title fight has been featured on FUEL TV when Renan Barao attempts to defend his UFC interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald.
It’s a solid card on paper with the opportunity for several fighters to put themselves in good positions within their respective weight divisions with a win. Let’s take a look at the top five questions heading into this event.
Will Michael McDonald pose a legitimate threat to Renan Barao?
We don’t know much about either fighter. McDonald hasn’t fought in nearly a year with his last win coming against former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres. That was the biggest win in the short career of McDonald. It was a huge win at the time, but Torres lost to a relatively unknown fighter in November which took some of the shine off that win. We’ve seen Barao take out top bantamweights in Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. Is there a significant gap between the skills of both fighters? Will the long layoff affect McDonald’s performance on Saturday? Granted, Barao has been out of action for a quite a while himself so that may be a non-factor. Both fighters like to go for the finish so I suppose we’ll find out on Saturday!
Will the winner of Cub Swanson/Dustin Poirier put themselves ‘in the mix’ with a win on Saturday?
The UFC featherweight division certainly is one of the more shallow divisions in the UFC. One reason is that Aldo has mowed down every opponent placed in front of him, and the other reason is there just isn’t a huge group of guys that have put themselves ‘in the mix’ so to speak. Swanson has already been defeated by Aldo, but that fight only lasted eight seconds and was quite a while ago. He has won three consecutive fights and a win over Poirier would be pretty big since Poirier was once thought to be a title contender before losing to “The Korean Zombie”. Poirier needs this win to put himself in a great position. He defeated Jonathan Brookins in his last outing, but there were some holes in his striking game that were exposed. Roop has a win over “The Korean Zombie” so it would certainly look good to defeat a guy that had a previous win over him. Anthony Pettis and Frankie Edgar moving to the featherweight division have helped a bit with depth, and the winner of this fight will likely get a high profile fight going forward.
Can James Te-Huna make it four consecutive wins when he takes on Ryan Jimmo on Saturday?
Te Huna has won three consecutive fights and is (4-1) in the UFC while winning nine of his last 10 fights. The lone loss was against current top 10 light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson. He’ll be taking on Ryan Jimmo who is riding a 17 fight winning streak after losing his professional debut. Jimmo burst on the UFC scene with a seven second KO over Anthony Perosh at UFC 149. Te-Huna also has a win over Perosh. The UFC light heavyweight division is searching for new blood with fighters like Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, and Dan Henderson near the end of their UFC careers. A win here for either fighter would be huge, but Te-Huna hits like a mack truck and five wins in the UFC isn’t anything to sneeze at.
Will Josh Grispi return to form against Andy Ogle?
Grispi was once thought to be the future of the featherweight division and was in consideration to fight for the inaugural UFC featherweight title at one time. However, he has lost all three of his UFC fights after earning a (14-1) record prior to joining the UFC. He’s still only 24 years old and has a tremendous skill set and size. A win here would be huge for him, but another loss would probably mean he would be cut from the promotion. Ogle is no easy out even though he’s a former competitor on “The Ultimate Fighter”. It’ll be interesting to see how that unfolds on the prelims Saturday.
Will this card break 200,000 viewers on Saturday?
FUEL TV has enjoyed a lot of growth due to UFC programming, but the channel still reaches less than 40 million homes. The 3 p.m. ET start time is an unusual time and will certainly be a factor in the ratings. It’s the first time that a title fight has been featured on FUEL TV, and it should be an exciting fight to boot. The supporting cast on the main card could offer fireworks as well with knockouts, etc. The UFC has enjoyed some great ratings success on FOX and FX, let’s see if the same can be said for FUEL TV on Saturday.