This Saturday sees the Ultimate Fighting Championship return to the United Kingdom. As usual the card is filled with excellent matchups but this time the UK card features a title fight. We at The Fight lounge take a look at this event’s main card and provide our preview and predictions on it.


Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald (Interim Bantamweight Title)


With one of the best records in mixed martial arts, Renan Barao (29-1-0-1NC) hasn’t been beaten since his very first professional bout, where he lost a decision. Thirty fights later and Barao is on the verge of superstardom. One of the most complete fighters in the bantamweight division, Barao seemingly has no weak areas. He is a good finisher of fights and has done so on nineteen occasions, seeing six end by (T)KO and thirteen by submission.

Fresh off what is easily the biggest win of his professional care when he knocked out former WEC champion Miguel Torres, Michael McDonald (15-1-0) has the chance to make history by becoming the youngest champion in UFC history this weekend. The young American, who only turned 22 last month, has some of the best and heaviest hands in the division and is also a brown belt in BBJJ so is very well versed on the ground also.

This fight promises to be one hell of a contest! Both men have incredibly dangerous arsenals and both what it takes to claim victory however Barao is seemingly the more complete of the two and he will be the man to leave victorious.


Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier


A former fighter for the WEC, Cub Swanson (18-5-0) enters this bout looking for his fourth win on the bounce inside the UFC. After getting off to the worst possible start in the promotion he picked himself up well and looked excellent in earning TKO victories over George Roop, Ross Pearson and most recently Charles Oliveira. Swanson is extremely well rounded and always looks to finish fights, something he has done on fourteen occasions.

Once regarded as the hottest featherweight prospect on the planet my many fans across the globe, Dustin Poirier (13-2-0) will be hoping to prove those claims weren’t just hot air. He was on a five fight winning streak under the Zuffa banner but then was submitted by the Korean Zombie last May. Since then he has returned to the win column in impressive fashion when he submitted Jonathon Brookins with the very same submission that brought his win streak to an end last month.

This fight could be fight of the night when all is said and done as both men are evenly matched however Cub Swanson will be the one leaving victorious.


Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate


Fresh off a dominating win in his promotional debut, Jimi Manuwa (12-0-0) will be keen to keep his perfect record intact. A natural killer when it comes to competing in mixed martial arts, Manuwa comes into every fight with the intentions of putting you away as quick as possible. His striking is his most dangerous asset and he has the ability to hurt his opponents at will with it. He has finished all of his fights with eleven coming by (T)KO and one by submission.

Former professional kickboxer Cyrille Diabate (19-8-1) will want to prove that he has the better striking of the two come fight night. He is a striker by trade but has shown great improvements in his all-round game during his UFC career. He is a veteran of Cage Rage and Pride and will be coming into his seventh UFC fight. Diabate has fourteen stoppages to his name, with eight coming by (T)KO and six by submission.

A fight that has potential to be an all-round war on the feet, Manuwa’s power will be the deciding factor and he will leave with the win.


Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago


One of the most highly touted mixed martial arts and grappling prospects in the world, Gunnar Nelson (10-0-1) will be looking to build on his impressive UFC debut last September than certainly left the UFC fans, and Dana White, impressed. Known throughout the world for his superb Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, Nelson also showed in his last bout that he is incredibly comfortable on his feet also. All of his career wins have come by way of stoppage, with three coming by (T)KO and seven by submission.

Returning to the UFC for his third stint, Jorge Santiago (25-10-0) will be keen to get his first win in the promotion since his debut back in 2006. Outside of the UFC he has looked superb just has never really seemed to be able to carry any form into the octagon. He has great skills both on the feet and the ground and looks to end his fights as quickly as possible. Some of the accolades he has earned in his career include Gran Prix wins in both Strikeforce and Sengoku as well as earning the Sengoku middleweight title.

Both men hard highly skilled on the floor however Nelson seems to be on a different level and as a result will leave with a submission victory – becoming the first man ever to tap Santiago in the process.


James Te-Huna vs. Ryan Jimmo


Fighting in the United Kingdom for the first time in his career, New Zealander James Te-Huna (15-5-0) will be keen to keep his good momentum going. He comes into this fight riding a three fight win streak and is 4-1-0 in the UFC overall with his sole loss in the promotion coming against Alexander Gustafsson. He is a superb striker and the power which he packs in his hands is extremely dangerous.

After one of the most talked about UFC debuts in recent memory, Ryan Jimmo (17-1-0) will look to show exactly why there is now so much hype behind him. His career began with a loss but since that fight he has been pretty much unstoppable in every contest he has had. He has the full package of striking, wrestling and grappling skills and knows how to finish his fights. Nine of his bouts have come inside the distance, with seven coming by (T)KO and two by submission.

Another main card bout with potential to earn fight of the night honours. This fight will be incredibly close but expect to see Ryan Jimmo take home the win.


Che Mills vs. Matthew Riddle


After claiming a bizarre victory due to an injury in his last fight, Che Mills (15-5-0-1NC) will be keen not to leave any “what ifs” lingering after this fight. Mills is one of the UK’s best and most popular fighters and will definitely have the backing of the crowd in this one. Mills is both dangerous on the feet and on the ground and will be happy to fight wherever it goes. Twelve of his wins have been stoppages, with eight coming by (T)KO and four by submission.

One fighter who will most definitely not have the crowd’s backing coming into this fight is Matthew Riddle (7-3-0-1NC). This is not because he is facing off against a Brit but because of the Brit baiting he has undertaken in the build-up to this fight. Riddle is a rarity in modern day mixed martial arts in that he has fought his entire career in the UFC. He has great striking and wrestling and is a very exciting fighter to watch.

At the pre-fight press conference both men said they are keen to throw down and earn fight of the night and fully expect them to do this. Mills will leave victorious in the end as he is the technically superior of the two.


UFC on Fuel TV 7: Barao vs. McDonald takes place this Saturday from Wembley Arena in London, England.

For more on the Ultimate Fighting Championship be sure to check out The Fight Lounge for all the latest news as it happens.

By Nathan Court (@nathancourt)

Deputy Editor and 3-2-0 Professional Fighter sponsored by

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