The card for February’s UFC on FUEL TV 7 is quickly filling up, as UFC officials have already announced seven bouts for the event, which takes place on February 16 at Wembley Arena in London.
Headlining the event will be an interim bantamweight title bout between champion Renan Barao and challenger Michael McDonald. With bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz likely out for much of 2013 with a second ACL injury, this fight makes all the sense in the world. It pits two of the most exciting young fighters in the UFC, and it also keeps the budding 135-pound division from being on hold for any more time.
The other question is the lack of star power in the fight, but the UFC solved that by putting in on free TV instead of a pay-per-view. This will help to increase the exposure of both fighters, because it’s hard to imagine these guys not putting on a show. It also assuages the fans in the UK who have been begging for meaningful and more frequent fights across the pond.
The card also added an influx of UK talent, including Che Mills, Paul Sass, Terry Etim, Vaughan Lee, Andy Ogle, and Phil Harris. All of these fighters will take part in separate bouts, but it also give the home crowd fans an easy rooting interest in each fight.
Mills will look to build off of a win over Duane Ludwig when he takes on Matt Riddle in a welterweight bout. Both fighters have won two of three, so a win here could vault one of the two onto the next level in the organization’s deep 170-pound division.
Sass had his unbeaten record snapped in his last outing by Matt Wiman, but he’ll look to start another streak when he takes on fellow lightweight Danny Castillo in a 155-pound bout. Castillo also had a three-fight winning streak snapped in his last outing.
The other bouts feature lightweights Etim vs. Renee Forte, bantamweights Lee vs. Motonubu Tezuka, featherweights Ogle vs. Josh Grispi, and flyweights Harris vs. Ulysses Gomez.