(It’s kind of offensive that the UFC promos keep referring to Barao as a “monster.” He’s a human being, okay? An aggressive, scary human being whose mother just happens to be half-cthulhu / Photo via MMAJunkie.)
Today at the Wembley Arena in London, UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao and 22-year-old phenom Michael McDonald will do battle to determine who’s truly the greatest 135-pound fighter in the world, at least until Dominick Cruz finally heals up and puts an end to this ridiculous charade. Alright, so an interim title might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still a damn good fight, and the rest of the card features a crowd-pleasing assortment of slugfests and future stars.
Leading us through today’s UFC on FUEL 7 liveblog is Alex Giardini, who will be laying down round-by-round results from the main card broadcast after the jump beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and please share your own thoughts in the comments section.
Cheerio, my lovely Po-ta-toes…glad to be sharing this sunny afternoon with you all and I am hopeful for a couple of hours filled with ultra-violence. A lot of questions will be answered today live from Wembley Arena – will Renan Barao enter the pool of “Brazilian champions that clean out their entire division” for years to come? Will Michael McDonald prove he isn’t the only up-and-coming star McDonald even if the other MacDonald spells his name MacDonald? Will Dustin Poirier and Cub Swanson provide us with an early fight of the year nomination? Will Jorge Santiago continue the curse of “Big in Japan, small in UFC”? Will Matt Riddle get spit on again? Don’t touch the remote/mouse/track pad (or finger if you’re using an iPad/iPhone or something but who in the blue hell watches fights on those?)
Intro video begins….McDonald says he is not here to make predictions but win fights…Barao says it is his belt, and nobody will take it away….bring on the afternoon.
Anik and Florian get us going…they mention this is the first title fight in the UK since 2008 and both main event competitors have not yet lost in the Octagon.
Che Mills vs. Matt Riddle
Round 1: Riddle has got me wondering if that hairstyle is new. Riddle taunts the crowds a bit; giving England the Bret Hart pose. Guest Octagon girl Carly Baker gets the up-and-down and the main card is underway. Both touch gloves…both trying to establish the jab. Riddle goes for a single-leg. He pushes Mills against the fence. He lets go, and both men clinch. Mills trying to break loose but Riddle grinds him further. Riddle throwing some knees, none of them too hurtful. Riddle going for the single again. Riddle scores the takedown. Mills successfully gets up. Both clinched against the fence once more. Riddle working the wrist. Mills separate, and both men on their feet. Front-left kick by Mills. Riddle scores another single-leg takedown. Mills gets up and both men now at the centre. Inside leg-kick by Mills. Nice hook by Riddle. Riddle clinches Mills once more against the fence. Mills gets in a nice knee. Riddle looking for a double-takedown…gets his hips up…and gets it. Riddle on top of Mills. Mills has got Riddle’s right leg trapped and Riddle works on top of him, closing the round with a short elbow. 10-9 Riddle.
Round 2: Riddle catches Mills with a nice right after the glove touch. Riddle scores a big takedown after a crazy Che Mills kick. Riddle gets a North-South choke. Working on it…but Mills isn’t in trouble yet. Riddle trying to clench his hands together. Riddle bails on it, goes into side control. Riddle throwing some knees to the ribs. Riddle trying to mount. Riddle gets an underhook, giving Mills some shots to the dome. Working with his knees and fists, Riddle still in side control. Nice shot by Riddle as he is almost mounted. Riddle in half-guard. Riddle trying to bridge and now he gets mount. Mills give him his back. Mills switches but Riddle stays on the back and tries for a rear-naked. Both are against the cage and Riddle transitions to mount. The round closes with not much damage to Mills. 10-9 Riddle.
Round 3: Both men hug instead of glove-touching. Nice jab by Mills. He goes for a head-kick, Riddle blocks. Riddle missing most of his jabs. Riddle working a single-leg once again. Crowd boos (obviously). Mills won’t go down. Riddle sends him back to the clinch. Mills sprawls against the cage trying to prevent the takedown. Riddle goes for a takedown and Mills ends up on top of Riddle’s back but Riddle is back up. Riddle scores another takedown. Riddle in Mills’ guard, with some light punches to the ear. Solid elbow from Riddle. Riddle moves into half-guard. Mills has the right-leg trapped. Mills reverses, and is on top. He needs to do something huge. He gets up and rains down some punches. Riddle is on the floor asking him to come down. Mills stays up, and the referee stands them up. Riddle works the single-leg yet again as the round closes. 10-9 Riddle.
Riddle should get the nod. Very effective takedowns. Scorecards in a minute…
Matthew Riddle def. Che Mills by Split Decision (29-28 Riddle, 29-28 Mills, 30-27 Riddle)
Nick The Tooth is sitting where the girls sit tonight?! With that babe Baker?! Hey, is that Bloodstain Lane fight still happening?
Anyhow….yeaaaah, don’t think this one is going to a decision.
James Te Huna vs. Ryan Jimmo
Round 1: Leon Roberts gets them going…. Te Huna locks Jimmo up against the fence with double-underhooks…Te Huna trying to throw some knees in there…referee warns them, wants more action. They get separated. Jimmo with a crazy headkick and drops Te Huna! Jimmo raining down elbows and fists but Te Huna is surviving. Jimmo in the guard, Te Huna is split open. Hard to see if its coming from the eyes or the forehead. Cut is around the right eye. Both men on their feet. Te Huna tries a choke but to no avail. Jimmo now trying to secure a choke. Jimmo trying to get some punches on the inside. Te Huna raining down some twelve-to-six elbows to the cranium. Nothing is putting Jimmo in trouble yet. Nice elbows by Te Huna. Still working the elbows but now gets warned by Roberts is Te Huna. Jimmon ends the round in the guard. 10-9 Jimmo.
Round 2: Replay of that menacing flush kick. Both men bouncing around, no strikes yet. Jimmo switches stance, goes for the kick again but misses. Te Huna trying for inside leg-kicks but gets nothing. Te Huna looking for a single-leg up against the cage. Both men clinched against the fence, another warning for not doing much. Big swiping, side takedown by Te Huna, now in side control. Throwing some elbows to Jimmo’s face. Still in side control, chipping away with punches. Jimmo squirming. Te Huna now in full mount. Te Huna trying to get his right leg loose, which is trapped. Nice short elbows by Te Huna. Some big ground and pound by Te Huna. Nice big rights by Te Huna. Hammerfists raining down, Jimmo surviving. Te Huna continues with some short elbows, and Te Huna gets up as the round closes. All square. 10-9 Te Huna.
Round 3: Both men touch’em. One round a piece. Jimmo misses a kick. Jimmo escapes a takedown attempt. Jimmo works Te Huna up against the fence. Jimmo pressuring and working a takedown. Te Huna still postured up. Roberts getting impatient again. Te Huna will a knee and a big elbow. Both at the centre of the Octagon now. Te Huna pits Jimmo up against the cage. Jimmo reverses, now has control. Back and forth fight. Te Huna gets another takedown from the bodylock and has Jimmo against the cage on his back. Te Huna working the hammerfists and elbows. Jimmo looks to be cut, hard to tell where the blood is coming from. It is in fact Te Huna’s cut. A minute to go, more elbows from Te Huna. Jimmo’s corner yelling at the fighter to get back to his feet. Jimmo in butterfly guard underneath Te Huna. Jimmo and Te Huna seem to be talking to each other. Te Huna on his feet, trying to make it rain but the round closes. Big comeback from Te Huna. 10-9 Te Huna.
Well, this liveblogger should shut it with his predictions. Was Round 1 a 10-8 for Jimmo? You never know with these crazy judges…
James Te Huna def. Ryan Jimmo by Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Big win by Te Huna…great composure in Round 1, he was in a boatload of trouble.
They show a little clip from UFC Primetime: Rousey vs. Carmouche…you may think this is a squash fight for the ages but the past two episodes have been quite good.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago
Round 1: Both welterweights touch gloves. Nelson with his awkwardly-funny karate stance. Santiago throwing some wild rights, nothing landing. Big knee by Santiago. Nice switch-kick by Nelson. Nelson tries a side-kick to the body, lands. Nelson switching stances often. Big headkick by Santiago, doesn’t fully connect. Front-kick by Nelson. Santiago blocks a body-kick. Double-leg by Nelson, in half-guard. Nelson on his feet…splits open Santiago’s legs and eats a punch. Both back to their feet. Jab-catches by Nelson as Santiago tries to find a home for them. Not much action from both men back on their feet thus far. Kick to the body by Nelson, keeps Santiago on the outside. Santiago rushing in, catches Nelson with a good punch. Nelson looking for a takedown, doesn’t get it…back to the center, and the round closes. Close one. 10-9 Nelson.
Round 2: Santiago misses a headkick. Nice strikes by Nelson, good left hand. Santiago throwing some wild ones, none landing. Nelson catches him with a big right hand, and goes for the takedown. Level-change and a double from Nelson. Gunnar in side control. Good short elbows by Gunnar. Nelson trying to get a significant position. Nelson now in the closed guard. Nelson trying to slam for a second, but lets it go. Nelson controlling the posture. Big elbow from Nelson to Santiago’s face. Another elbow by Nelson. Nelson gets up, tries to move around and gets right back down. Nelson passes guard, in side control now. Nelson mounted. Nelson continues to throw elbows. 10-9 Nelson.
Round 3: Santiago trying to land a combo. Nelson’s feet planted. Nelson goes for a sidekick. Santiago fights off the takedown attempt. Santiago lands a right hand. Headkick blocked by Santiago. Right hand by Nelson, catches Santiago off-guard. Santiago now has Nelson against the fence. Elbow and knees by Santiago. Another right by Santiago who is throwing some wild ones. Nice straight right by Nelson. Both men shuffling around the cage. Nice right by Santiago. Good uppercut by Santiago. Another uppercut from Nelson and immediate right hand by Santiago who looks pretty wobbly. Knee by Nelson, clinched up against the fence. Big uppercut from Nelson once more. Goes for a takedown, Santiago fights it off. Santiago with a hook but misses…Nelson catches him with a right hand. Santiago misses an uppercut and Santiago pouring it on…Santiago with a nasty right at the end of the fight. Saved by the bell? 10-9 Nelson
Gunnar Nelson def. Jorge Santiago by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Decision heavy but good fights thus far…this one’s is a sleeper…
Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate
Round 1: Both touch gloves…. Manuwa with a tight stance. Diabate misses a combo. Manuwa with a good lowkick. Manuwa pushes Diabate against the fence, reversal. Manuwa gets superior position and gets the takedown. Manuwa in side control. Manuwa trying to work. Back on their feet. Diabate eats a stiff, short elbow. Manuwa grinding Diabate against the fence. Highkick from Manuwa. Stiff right from Manuwa and takes him down again. Manuwa lets him up. Right hook by Manuwa. Misses a left hook, Manuwa. Side kick by Manuwa. Both men in the clinch, delivering short elbows. Diabate hits him with a knee and Manuwa follows immediately with a left-hook. Big knee to the midsection by Diabate. Manuwa takes him down again. Manuwa stands up and the round closes. 10-9 Manuwa.
Fight is over?! Diabate is unable to continue. Something’s up with his leg….
Yep, that’s it…looks like Diabate’s calf muscle is messed up. Disappointing.
Jimi Manuwa def. Cyrille Diabate by TKO (Corner Stoppage), Round 1, 5:00.
I guess that’s the stoppage we *weren’t* looking for…but it did put an end to those decisions. “Party Up” by DMX blazing through the arena and that is fitting because our co-main event should be one hell of a barnburner.
Anik announces that the fighter rankings with be updated thirty-six hours after UFC events. They also show up next to the fighter’s names on fight intros and upcoming cards…whatever.
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier
Round 1: Both men exchanging glares. They touch gloves. Both men block each others’ lowkicks. Swanson with a wild right, misses. Poirier with a nice lowkick. Swanson pouring it on, with two hooks followed by a body shot. Swanson with a right hand. Poirier tries to take him down but unsuccessful. Swanson leading in with a lowkick then a right hook, misses. Big right by Poirier followed by another lowkick. Swanson with a hook then body shot. Counter-right from Poirier. Swanson with a lowkick. Poirier continues with the lowkicks. Swanson keeps charging in. Highkick checked by Poirier. Poirier clinches Swanson against the cage. Both men break out. Body shot by Swanson. Big uppercut rocks Poirier. Both exchange and Swanson is throwing them wildly. Swanson pouring it on but Poirier catches his heel and takes him down. Poirier in the guard. Tries to rain down some elbows but Swanson covers up effectively. Flying knee from Swanson misses. So does a frontkick by Poirier. 10-9 Swanson.
Round 2: Swanson tries to work a jab. Poirier working with those lowkicks. Body shot by Swanson. Left hook misses by Swanson. Nice combo from Poirier. Nice shot to Swanson’s body by Poirier. Poirier with another kick to the leg. Right misses from Poirier. Big kick to the body by Swanson. Poirier goes for the takedown. Clinches Swanson against the fence. Swanson escapes. Front-kick misses by Poirier. Kick checked by Swanson but he lands a big right hand. Big double-leg takedown by Poirier. Swanson going for the arm. Poirier stands with a shoulder lock on Swanson but Swanson breaks free. Swanson eats a good three-hit combo by Poirier. Poirier looking for a takedown as he has Swanson against the fence. Both men back at the center. Poirier with a good right hand. Another lowkick by Poirier. Good technical fight thus far. 10-9 Poirier.
Round 3: Swanson hits him with a left hook. Poirier pushing him against the fence. Tries a double. Poirier cannot secure the hips just yet. Instead he clinches with Swanson and throws some big shots towards Swanson. Left hand connects. Huge left hand by Poirier as they get back to the center. Another left by Poirier. Nice jab from Poirier backs up Cub. Swanson gets a big takedown and is in Poirier’s guard. Poirier going for some elbows but Swanson returns the favor with some hammerfists too. Swanson gets his back. Gets the hooks in. Goes for the choke but nothing secured yet. Swanson still working the back. Poirier trying to stand up. Swanson has the back still. Poirier tries to stand up, may look for a slam while Cub is on his back. Swanson gets mount as Poirier tries to shuffle. Swanson on his feet pouring it on. Both men on their feet. Poirier gets a short elbow in. Swanson sweeps and throws Poirier down. Swanson has an arm trapped and works the back once more. Both fighters talking to each other. Swanson looking for an armbar. Poirier is out and rains down but the fight finishes in Swanson’s guard. 10-9 Swanson.
We needed that…hope the judges get this one right…
Cub Swanson def. Dustin Poirier by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Judges get it right…Swanson looks like a fighter reborn – not the same dude that got slaughtered by Aldo. Main event time, brothers and sisters.
Renan Barao (c) vs. Michael McDonald
McDonald comes out to some indie Barenaked Ladies stuff…you know, the kind of song that would take the world by storm if it was on The OC last night. Barao comes out to a reggaeton banger. I’ll have to Shazam this when I rewatch…
Round 1: They touch gloves and were underway. Both start with the feeling out process. McDonald misses with the right, Barao misses with a highkick. Both grapple and Barao gets a takedown early. In side control now is Barao. He hops into McDonald’s guard. McDonald looks to setup a triangle. Barao keeping him locked. Both men back on their feet. Both guys have their hands up high, lots of respect thus far. McDonald with a nice left hand that finds its way through. Barao and McDonald exchange wild rights, nothing too harmful. Barao with a nice left hand. Barao with a nice lowkick. Barao goes for the takedown, stuffed. Barao catches him with a right in a short exchange. McDonald pouring it on, big right hand! Barao is hurt, and gets a body-lock. He hits McDonald with some nice rights against the cage. Barao gets a takedown and looks fully recovered. Barao in the guard as the round closes. 10-9 Barao.
Round 2: Both guys hesitant at first. Barao with a right that slips through in an exchange. McDonald with a good left hand. McDonald with an uppercut. Barao goes for a spinning axe-kick, misses though. McDonald with left. Both men keeping it cool on their feet, looking for an opening. McDonald gets a right in, Barao goes for the takedown and stuffed. Barao gets another takedown, secures it and McDonald gets back up by delivering an upkick from his back. Barao unable to land a combo. McDonald misses with a left and right. Referee steps in as Barao accidently pokes the challenger. McDonald rocks Barao back with a good combo, but McDonald took some hits too. Uppercut by McDonald misses and Barao swings a wild right. Both men trying to capitalize as they get on the inside. Big front-kick to the face by Barao. Counter-right by McDonald, Barao pushes back. Barao lands a nice right in an exchange but has a cut over his right eye. Tries for a spinning kick as the round ends. 10-9 Barao.
Round 3: Both men are shuffling again at the beginning. Barao catches McDonald with a good combination. Barao goes for a kick, doesn’t throw it. Barao blitzes in with a combination into a body lock and has McDonald against the cage. Takes him down, Barao now in side control. McDonald escapes. McDonald lands a right hand. Barao goes for the front-kick again. McDonald with an uppercut, doesn’t quite catch Barao. Barao with a left hook followed by a solid right hand. McDonald looking for that uppercut quite often. Barao keeping tight. McDonald connects with an uppercut. Both men starting to tire but just a bit. Barao catches him with a spinning kick to the chin, McDonald not in too much trouble. Another front-kick by Barao but doesn’t make it through. Championship rounds, a first for the challenger. 10-9 Barao.
Round 4: Both men circling again. Some smiles back and forth from both dudes. Left hand by Barao. McDonald gets a right in. McDonald stuffs the takedown. Barao with a wild right, misses. Barao throwing a headkick and flying knee but doesn’t catch McDonald. Challenger is bleeding from the nose. McDonald stays upright against the fence, doesn’t allow Barao to follow-up on a takedown. Very technical fight so far. Barao gets another spinning kick to connect with McDonald’s face. Barao misses with a jab. McDonald keeping his head moving. Barao gets McDonald down and has an arm triangle in. McDonald gives the thumbs up. Barao trying to sink it in. Barao keeps position. McDonald trying to stay alive. McDonald in trouble….the challenger taps.
A bloody Barao dances and McDonald congratulates the champion. Good fight; something tells me these two will have a great rivalry in the near future.
Renan Barao def. Michael McDonald by Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 4, 3:57.
So…Barao says “Dominick Cruz, I am waiting for you…come back quick”. Triple threat match, with these three, I’m down. It was a decent afternoon of fights. Poirier-Swanson may not have been the fight of the year (unless 2013 utterly sucks), although it was the best one on the main card alongside the main event. Jimi Manuwa *finishes* Diabate, Te Huna scores an impressive comeback victory, Riddle stays clear of saliva, Nelson wins over Santiago (he lost five straight during three separate UFC stints) and this guest Octagon girl is saucy as hell. That’s it for me, Potato Nation…until next time.