In a back-and-forth main event scrap at UFC On Fuel TV 7 Renan Barao eventually emerged as the victory over Michael McDonald to retain his interim bantamweight title.
Barao throws the first strike of this title fight and goes exotic straight away with a spinning back kick that misses.
Soon after he lands a nice takedown. McDonald does a nice job of defending, locking up his arms to stop him getting off any offense, then pushing him off and getting to his feet.
McDonald explodes forward with strikes and Barao backs up. They reset and again McDonald looks to rush in, but this time Barao looks for counters as he backs away and connects a couple of times.
Barao looks for another takedown, but McDonald steers clear of it.
McDonald blitzes again and he lands with a strike and then follows with a flurry of right hands that buckles Barao’s legs, though he immediately clinches up against the cage and that gives him a breather. He lands a few short punches of his own and then drags McDonald back down to the mat.
Again McDonald locks up his arms and stays out of danger from his back until the bells sounds.
Onto round two and Barao looks to counter as McDonald steps in. McDonald is quick though and is landing the occasional punch.
Barao goes for a spinning back kick again, but it misses. Barao tries to get a clinch happening, but there’s a slight clash of heads and they quickly separate.
Barao dives down for a takedown and McDonald defends well initially, though Barao doesn’t give up and eventually gets it. McDonald pushes him off though and gets back upright.
Driving forwards Barao misses with a flurry of punches and soon after there’s a brief break in the action due to an accidental eye poke to McDonald.
A combination of punches from both men as McDonald moves forward and Barao moves backwards. Barao throws a punch followed by a nice kick.
Barao lands a front kick to the face, but McDonald shrugs it off. In the final seconds of the round McDonald comes forward again with strikes, but misses while Barao lands a counter.
Round three underway. McDonald continuing to utilize speedy flurries of strikes, but Barao seems to be getting more confident and is timing them well and wins the opening exchange of the round.
Barao gets the clinch and muscles McDonald to the mat. Not for long though as McDonald shoves him off as Barao attempts to improve his position and gets up on his feet.
McDonald lands a right hand, but Barao lands with a counter in return. Another exchange and Barao digs in to the body. Barao definitely timing McDonald well at the moment and has the upper hand.
Spinning back kick from Barao and finally he gets one to land and it’s too the head, backing up his opponent momentarily. He presses forward believing he might have McDonald hurt, but there’s nothing doing and soon after the round comes to an end.
Round four begins with both fighters grinning at each other. Barao tries an early takedown, but it’s stuffed. A couple of kicks from Barao missed and then he burst forward with a flying knee that also misses the target and McDonald nicely counters with a right hand.
Barao getting more offensive now and fires off a combination before looking for the takedown which again doesn’t pay off.
Spinning back kick from Barao that just grazes McDonald’s head. McDonald throws a right hand, but Barao moves out of the way and initiates the clinch.
They scramble and Barao gets his back and then lightning quick he’s suddenly got McDonald in an arm triangle choke. It looks tight, but McDonald gives the thumbs up to say he’s ok.
McDonald’s playing it cool, but it turns out he was in bigger trouble than he was letting on and he suddenly taps, handing Barao the submission victory with 3.57mins of the fourth round gone.
Nicely done by Barao, but credit to McDonald for giving the interim champion a real run for his money.