UFC title fights are returning to the United Kingdom. UFC officials announced the news overnight that UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao will defend his title against Michael McDonald as the headlining bout of UFC on FUEL TV 7 on Feb. 16, 2013. That event will take place at Wembley Arena in London, England.
Barao, 25, last competed at UFC 149 in July of this year where he defeated Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to earn the interim bantamweight title. He is 6-0 in Zuffa promotions and 29-1 with one no contest in MMA.
McDonald, 21, most recently fought at UFC 145 in April of this year who he knocked out former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres in the first round. McDonald is 5-0 in the UFC and 15-1 overall in professional mixed martial arts.
With UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz already out since May of this year due to ACL tear and subsequent surgery and also now being sidelined for up to another year due to complications with the procedure, UFC officials decided to keep the bantamweight title picture moving. However, as of the time of this writing, Cruz has not been stripped of his title and Barao vs. McDonald is for the interim bantamweight belt.
This event will mark the third time the UFC has held a title fight in the U.K. At UFC 75 in September of 2007, Quinton Jackson defended his light heavyweight belt against Dan Henderson, winning by unanimous decision. B.J. Penn defended his lightweight title against Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 in January of 2008, winning by second-round submission.
This marks the first time a title fight has headlined a FUEL event or even been part of any live FUEL broadcast of UFC events.
In addition to this main event, the UFC announced six other bouts on the fight card.
Lightweights Paul Sass and Michael Donald will look to rebound after suffering losses in the Octagon. The same is true for British lightweight Terry Etim as well as Renee Forte, both of whom suffered defeats in their last UFC outings.
In what's being billed as the first flyweight bout in Europe, Ulysses Gomez is set to take on Phil Harris. Lastly, Vaughan Lee and Motonobu Tezuka will also look to get back on the winning track in their bantamweight bout.
The UFC on FUEL TV 7 fight card is as follows at the time of this writing: