“Barao” Pegado will defend his UFC interim bantamweight title
against rising star Michael
McDonald in 2013.
The planned booking was revealed on Tuesday’s episode of “UFC
Tonight” on Fuel TV, though a specific date for the fight was not
Barao won the interim title this past July by outpointing Urijah Faber
at UFC 149 after undisputed champion Dominick
Cruz pulled out of the bout due to a torn ACL. The Brazilian
was then expected to face Cruz in a title unification bout when
“The Dominator” returned from knee surgery, but Cruz’s comeback was
cut short when he knee failed again last week in training, forcing
him back onto the operating table.
“I was doing what I was allowed to do. I was on a good comeback,
right on schedule, but apparently it just happened. I was training,
and I found out the hard way that the cadaver tendon wasn’t as
strong as it should have been at that point,” Cruz said during his
“UFC Tonight” appearance. “It got weak, and it failed because it
didn’t take to my body as well as it should have. I was in my brace
when it occurred. I was doing everything I was allowed to. The
cadaver didn’t take to my body, and the cadaver tendon failed and
it split. It happens. There is nothing you can do.”
Barao, 25, has not lost in his last 30 outings, with only a 2007
no-contest blemishing his record since he he was defeated in his
April 2005 pro debut. The hard-hitting Brazilian joined the UFC
last year and has looked razor sharp thus far, besting Cole
Jorgensen and Faber en route to capturing the interim belt.
McDonald, meanwhile, has not competed since knocking out former
World Extreme Cagefighting titlist Miguel
Torres at UFC 145, undergoing hand surgery following the bout.
Like Barao, “Mayday” has been perfect in his Octagon career thus
far, posting four victories against no defeats. Prior to his finish
of Torres, the 21-year-old competed thrice last year, besting
Cariaso and Alex Soto.