UFC on Fuel: Barao v. McDonald Preview

Stop the presses… ALar finally has FuelTV!

Finally!

Finally!

Since up and moving to the great state of New Jersey, I have just discovered that my new cable package includes FUEL TV. Back in the confines of Connecticut, there was little hope that FUEL would be offered in my area, but score one for Jersey! Now to go along with ‘Best of Pride’ running around the clock, there is a a criminally underrated card going down from London, England *AT 3 PM EASTERN* on Saturday.

The card is loaded with up and comers across the board and it looks like Joe Silva really took his time putting this one together, every match up looks like one of those so-called ‘fun fights’ we love so to talk about. Continuing with recent practices, the UFC will be putting one of their lighter weight’s belts on the line on ‘free’ TV.  (Albeit it is for the “interim” Bantamweight title because of Dominick Cruz’s lack of an intact ACL…)  Interim Champ Renan Barao will be defending his strap against young gun Michael ‘Mayday’ McDonald. Even though I come from the school of thought were Interim belts mean jack squat, this fight should feature some serious fireworks for the fans at Wembley Arena. On to the preview!

Preliminary Card on Facebook (12:15 PM ET) {Picks in BOLD}

Ulysses Gomez v. Phil Harris

Vaughan Lee v. Motonobo Tezuka

Stanislav Nedkov v. Tom Watson

Josh Grispi v. Andy Ogle

Danny Castillo v. Paul Sass

Terry Etim v. Renee Forte

Main Card (FUEL TV, 3 PM ET)

UFC-of-Fuel-in-London-2-16-2013

Che Mills v. Matthew Riddle

Riddle has documented his beef with the ‘butter toothed Brits’ over the last few months and we can expect him to endure the full wrath of the crowd at Wembley. Riddle will be tangling with British striker Che Mills in the first televised fight of the event.  Mills is coming off a win over ‘Bang’ Ludwig, though it wasn’t so much of a case of Mills winning the fight but Ludwig’s knee deciding it didn’t feel like functioning properly anymore. Riddle always comes to brawl, and Mills will likely oblige. I think Riddle’s skills have been better showcased in the cage and I expect him to earn an exciting decision win against the home country favorite. Riddle by Decision.

Keep that test clean, Matty.

Keep that test clean, Matty.

James Te-Huna v. Ryan Jimmo

If I was in charge of marketing Te-Huna, I would make sure the dude started calling himself ‘The Big Tuna’ at every available opportunity  What we know about this one is that somebody is going to end up on the floor. Both of these guys love to throw haymakers without remorse and will put on a heck of a show for the fans in London.  Te-Huna beat the CRAP out of a zombified Joey Beltran last time out, but didn’t look amazing doing it. Last time we saw Jimmo, it took him 7 seconds to starch Anthony Perosh and then proceed to bust out one of the best robots I have ever witnessed.  I have a hunch that Jimmo takes this, but his time training with the Blackzillian camp has me a little worried. In case you didn’t know, that crew hasn’t been performing all that well lately… Even with The Big Tuna’s rock solid chin, I still think I’ll take Jimmo by second round TKO. Jimmo by TKO.

Domo arigato, Mr. Jimmo

Domo arigato, Mr. Jimmo

Gunnar Nelson v. Jorge Santiago

The Icelandic Nelson is one of the rising stars of the organization. He has a serious grappling pedigree to go along with some pop in his hands. He will look to raise his status in the division against journeyman Jorge Santiago. Santiago returns to the UFC for the first time since 2011 when he was cut after suffering consecutive losses to Brian Stann and Demian Maia.  It may be a welcome sight for Santiago to come back to the Octagon, but the last thing he will want to see when he enters the cage will be a motivated Gunnar Nelson.  Santiago has never been submitted in his lengthy career, but there is always a first for everything.  Nelson by 2nd round submission. 

Gunnar probably learned a thing or two from the Prodigy

Gunnar probably learned a thing or two from the Prodigy

Jimi Manuwa v. Cyrille Diabate

Manuwa is a highly interesting prospect, he has 12 career fights, and has won every freaking one of them by some sort of finish. The undefeated Manuwa is slightly older than some other prospects in the division, but his athleticism and power are something that could put him on the fast track to the top. He is facing off against veteran striker Diabate in what should be an excellent showcase of striking for the British fans in attendance.  Diabate was last seen submitting (yes, I said submitting) Chad Griggs late last year. While Diabate is always game to toss leather, his height doesn’t allow him to keep up with some of the power some of the other 205ers are putting behind their strikes.  I am almost inclined to take Manuwa by TKO, but I think Diabate is a savvy vet and will last until the final bell. Manuwa by unanimous decision.

jimi-manuwa-979763014_original_original_display_image

Cub Swanson v. Dustin Poirer

Book this one for Fight of the Night right now! Swanson was expected to face Denis Siver in this tilt, but Siver had to pull out due to injury and luckily Dustin ‘Diamond’ Poirer was available to toss his hat in the ring. After watching the Fightville documentary, I find myself rooting for Poirer pretty heavily. The kid has a ton of talent and once he learns to put it all together I believe he has the capability of a lengthy title run, but unfortunately, I see Cub as being a short speed bump on the road to that goal. Swanson is coming off three straight DOMINANT TKO victories over top flight competition and is HUNGRY for another shot at Jose Aldo. This is going to be a back and forth affair, but I see Swanson getting the better of some of the exchanges and scoring more in the eyes of the judges. Swanson by decision.

CubSwanson_Headshot152

Interim Bantamweight Title Bout

Interim Champion Renan Barao v. Michael Mayday McDonald

Hey! A title fight that isn’t really a title fight… You know my opinion on interim belts and their lack of meaning, but that doesn’t mean that this tilt won’t be a furious scrap between two of the best 135 pounders in the world.  With that said, in my opinion, Mayday McDonald is not yet in Barao’s league. Renan Barao just decimated Urijah Faber, one of the best fighters of all time at the lighter weight classes, what do you think he is going to do against an young and somewhat untested McDonald??? McDonald also comes off as a weird cat to me, just read this article about him from Ben Fowlkes and you should be able to see what I am getting at. McDonald’s win over Miguel Torres was impressive for the young gun, but now that we see where Torres has ended up, some of the glamour of that win has been lost. McDonald has only lost once in his career, but I see Saturday’s fight England being his second.  He is young enough to come back and make another run at the belt, but right now, he is no match for Barao. I’m looking for a fourth round submission from the Brazilian Champ. Barao by fourth round submission.

*Joe Rogan Voice* "Renan Barao is a MONSTER!!!"

*Joe Rogan Voice* “Renan Barao is a MONSTER!!!”

Feel free to add your picks in the comment section or yell at us on Twitter! Enjoy the AFTERNOON of fights!

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