The UFC returns to England for the first time in five months with UFC on FUEL TV: Barao vs. McDonald tomorrow.
The main event has Renan Barao defending his interim bantamweight championship against Michael McDonald. It will be Barao’s first defense as McDonald looks to become the youngest UFC champion in history.
The main card airs on FUEL TV and the preliminary part on Facebook with a 12 p.m. ET start time.
FightLine main writer Dana Becker and staff writer Joseph Lisnow offer up their predictions for the main event, which you can view below. As always, we will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of the entire card on Saturday.
Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald
Dana: Michael McDonald is jumping into the deep-end, as they like to say, with his UFC title fight vs. Renan Barao. McDonald, who just turned 22 years old, has four fights inside the Octagon and 16 total – a solid number for a fighter. Barao, however, is only three years older and has nearly twice as many pro fights. Plus, the Brazilian has that much-talked about unbeaten streak that can do wonders for the mental part of the combat sports game. Barao just seems to be a confident, unrattled, rising star in this sport. He’s in the same mold as teammate Jose Aldo, of Georges St-Pierre, and, dare I say it, Anderson Silva. Barao will figure out McDonald early and make “Mayday” pay for stepping inside the Octagon with him. Renan Barao via second round submission (rear-naked choke)
Joseph: This looks like easy pickings for Renan Barao. The only advantage that Michael McDonald holds is that Barao had been preparing for Dominick Cruz for months. McDonald has a chance to be a champion in the future, but he’s just too young and not ready for this challenge. A few more wins under his name then maybe. Barao is simply the faster of the two and has only tasted defeat once, in his 2005 debut. The momentum he’s riding has to be sky high. I expect Barao to feel this one out in the first round before going for the win. Barao’s not known for his knockout ability, so he uses a leg submission to retain the gold and waits to see if Cruz can medically return. Renan Barao via third round submission (kneebar)