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Barao Subs Mayday: FUEL 7 Main Card

LONDON, ENGLAND ”“ UFC on FUEL TV 7‘s main card at Wembley Arena wrapped with a stunning fourth-round submission victory for UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao against Michael McDonald, setting the Brazilian up for a unification bout against divisional champion Dominick Cruz upon the champion‘s return from a series of injuries. In the co-main event, Cub Swanson moved another step closer to featherweight title contention with a close unanimous decision win over Dustin Poirier.RENAN BARAO VS. MICHAEL MCDONALDInterim UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao scored an impressive fourth-round submission victory over challenger Michael McDonald. After 3:57 minutes of the fourth frame, the American had to tap out to an arm triangle, giving the champion his fifth win in a row in the UFC and his seventh under the Zuffa banner.The first round saw the challenger go neck-and-neck with the champion. For every punch that Barao threw, McDonald threw one of his own. Barao quickly got the first takedown of the fight but couldn‘t stay in side control for more than a few seconds. McDonald showed good wrist control in full guard and prevented the champion from doing damage. Back to a vertical base, McDonald missed with a number of punches before Barao hit a counter left and followed it up with a leg kick. After stuffing another takedown, McDonald went on the offensive and threw a wild series of rights and lefts, one of which buckled Barao‘s knee.The champion immediately went for a takedown to regain his composure and got McDonald‘s back standing. He hit two knees to the chin and managed to get a takedown into side control. McDonald hip-escaped into his guard and tied Barao up through the end of the round.Barao missed a spinning heel kick to the head at the beginning of the second round, then shot in and swung McDonald to the ground. When they got back to their feet, McDonald complained about having been poked in the eye during an exchange. After the restart, the challenger landed a hard right which sent Barao into backpedalling mode. After regaining his composure, the champion landed an incredibly loud leg kick and a kick to the head that would have made middleweight champion Anderson Silva proud. When going to the well for a second time, Barao missed his kick and ate a counter right by McDonald. Barao missed another wheel kick as the round ended.The champion opened round three with two lefts that connected and led to a slugfest between Barao and McDonald. As he seemed to be coming up with the short end of the stick, Barao pressed his challenger against the cage and tried to take him down. As he attempted to pass guard into full mount, McDonald threw him off and stood back up. McDonald and Barao then traded hard rights, which led to a spinning kick by the champion to McDonald‘s solar plexus, which seemed to knock the win out of him for a split second.McDonald stuffed another takedown, but Barao hit a running knee and went headhunting with his fists. The American retaliated with a combination and saw Barao‘s saving takedown coming from a mile away. After struggling for a while, the champion got the takedown, threw a hook in and turned McDonald over to his back and into an arm triangle. He fought valiantly, but as the hold was tight, he had no other choice but to tap after about 25 seconds in the hold.Renan Barao‘s record climbs to 32-1 with one no contest, while Michael McDonald dropped to 15-2.Watch Barao’s post-fight interview here CUB SWANSON VS. DUSTIN POIRIERIn the co-main event of the evening, Cub Swanson was victorious over a man with almost unlimited potential, Dustin Poirier. After three rounds of quality striking and grappling exchanges, Swanson was awarded the unanimous decision with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 scores.The early portion of round one was a battle of leg kicks, with both men scoring equally. Poirier blocked a hard shot by Swanson and tried a takedown. Swanson defended well and peppered his opponent with punches in retaliation. Swanson and Poirier exchanged more leg kicks, leading to Swanson throwing a head kick that missed and following up with a haymaker under which Poirier ducked before trying for a takedown. After some grappling against the cage, Swanson landed a punch to the midsection and a right that momentarily staggered Poirier. He threw a mistimed kick which Poirier caught and used to take Swanson down. Poirier repeatedly punched his opponent‘s side but ultimately stood back up, still holding Swanson‘s leg. As soon as they were back in a standing position, Swanson jumped and hit a flying knee while Poirier was still holding on.Swanson opened the second frame with an uppercut, which Poirier answered with a hook combination, a body kick and another hard right. Swanson went back to his flying knee but it didn‘t land properly. They kept trading kicks until Poirier ducked under and got a takedown. However, in landing, it was Swanson who ended up in an advantageous position…

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