A date is now set for Renan “Barao” Pegado’s first interim
bantamweight title defense, as the hard-hitting Brazilian will face
No. 1 contender Michael
McDonald on Feb. 16 in the main event of
UFC on Fuel TV 7.
Promotion officials announced the booking early Thursday morning.
UFC on Fuel TV 7 takes place at Wembley Arena in London and marks
the Las Vegas-based organization’s first trip to the United
Kingdom’s capital since October 2010.
Barao was initially expected to face undisputed bantamweight
Cruz once “The Dominator” recovered from ACL surgery, but that
title unification bout was nixed after Cruz injured the same knee
in training last week.
Barao now faces McDonald on the strength of a 29-fight winning
streak, with only a 2007 no-contest marring his record in his last
30 fights. The 25-year-old won the interim belt by stepping in for
an injured Cruz to face Urijah Faber
this past July at UFC 149, earning a one-sided unanimous decision
over “The California Kid” to garner his first taste of UFC
McDonald, meanwhile, has spent much of 2012 recovering from hand
surgery following his first-round knockout of ex-WEC champion
Torres at UFC 145 this past April. The highly regarded prospect
has suffered just one setback in his pro career, and, like his
opponent, the 21-year-old has been perfect since joining the UFC,
rattling off four straight Octagon wins to earn a crack at Barao’s