Feb. 16 will be a great night for the UFC as interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao will be taking on rising star Michael McDonald. Dominick Cruz is still out of action due to an ACL injury, but this fight keeps things moving in the bantamweight division.
Renan Barao comes into this championship fight off a dominant win over Urijah Faber, which granted him access to the interim bantamweight belt. It was a win that was predicated off leg kicks, which is something Jose Aldo was also able to do against Faber. Renan sports one of the most impressive records in the UFC, who is currently 29-1-1.
Michael McDonald has been on an impressive win streak of his own. He is currently 15-1 and has won eight straight fights. His latest destruction was over Miguel Torres. In this fight, McDonald quickly showed why he is considered an elite striker, stopping Torres in the first round by way of KO. McDonald possesses some of the most powerful punches in the division, and his wrestling is also competent.
A lot of meaning is behind this fight. Both are fighting to be the interim champ in hopes of challenging Dominick Cruz once he has healed up all of his injuries. Renan and McDonald both can finish the fight in many ways, which makes this fight very intriguing. For Barao, he will want to use his combinations to set up the take downs.
His jiu jitsu is world class, and this is his best path to victory. Conversely, McDonald will want to keep this fight standing in hopes of getting another impressive finish.