UFC on FUEL TV 7 Picks: Interim Bantamweight Title Renan Barao (-260) vs. Michael McDonald (+180)

UFC-London UFC on FUEL TV 7 Wembley Arena in London, England Saturday, February 16, 2013 Interim Bantamweight Title Fight: Renan Barao (-260) vs. Michael McDonald (+180)   Fight Breakdown: UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao puts his belt on the line for the first time when he takes on up-and-comer Michael McDonald, who, at only 22-years-old, would become the youngest-ever champion in UFC history if he’s able to pull off the upset. The champion Barao entered as a -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100), while McDonald opened as a +180 underdog (bet $100 to win $180). Barao (29-1-1) is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, having gone undefeated in his last 29 bouts since losing his pro debut by split decision. The 25-year-old Brazilian defeated Urijah Faber to claim the interim bantamweight belt and he also holds dominant wins over standouts Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. He is also a strong grappler — he has 13 submissions to his credit — and a dominant striker and has the cardio to go five full rounds. Really, he’s just a phenomenal fighter in every sense of the term. He’s the rightful favorite in this fight but if he takes McDonald lightly he could be in trouble. McDonald (15-1) is coming off an impressive KO win over former WEC bantamweight champion at Miguel Torres. However, that fight was at UFC 145 last April, so he’ll be coming off a near 10-month layoff coming into this fight with Barao — he was off mending a broken hand — and if he experiences ring rust that won’t help his cause at all. The one advantage the 22-year-old has over Barao is power, as he has nine wins via TKO as compared to Barao’s six. He definitely has a puncher’s chance to win this fight, but his cardio is a question mark because he’s never been five rounds. McDonald’s best chance to win is in the first round, because after that I expect Barao to take over. Fight Prediction: I expect this to be a very competitive fight that goes the distance. Ultimately, though, I think that Barao’s proven cardio, his use of legs kicks, his superior wrestling, and his overall experience in five-round championship fights will help him out quite a bit in this match as he wins a pretty clear decision on the judges scorecards and retains the UFC interim bantamweight championship. Adam’s Pick: Renan Barao via unanimous decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Barao should win this fight but -325 (where the line is currently sitting) is a tad high for me because I do expect this to be a competitive fight. As for the dog McDonald, you can’t bet against someone on a 29-fight unbeaten streak like Barao, so although McDonald might look tempting at +250 odds I would say stay away from it.

Written by Adam Martin.

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