Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 | 4:45 p.m.
Note: Scroll to the bottom for complete results from the preliminary card.
The most impressive current win streak in mixed martial arts reached a new dimension Saturday in London.
Renan Barao notched a victory in his 30th straight fight by submitting Michael McDonald at 3:57 of the fourth round at UFC on FUEL TV 7, keeping his interim bantamweight championship in the process.
“Dominick Cruz, I am waiting for you,” Barao said through a translator in an address to the sidelined champion immediately after his win. “Please come quick.”
Cruz hasn’t resumed training after two ACL surgeries, so Barao may need to defend his interim title again while waiting. But it’s hard to imagine any new opponent outside of Cruz giving the 25-year old Brazilian a challenge.
“Pegado” last lost in his professional debut eight years ago. No one had really given the interim champion a competitive match in the UFC until McDonald.
McDonald rocked Barao in each of the first two rounds with his right hand but couldn’t capitalize. McDonald started breathing heavily as early as the end of the second round, and Barao never slowed his pace.
“I felt great throughout the fight. I was very comfortable,” Barao said. “I felt that McDonald was getting tired.”
Barao mixed his striking with his wrestling in the third and fourth rounds to wear down McDonald. He threw McDonald to the floor in the fourth and went for an arm-triangle choke.
McDonald initially motioned that he was safe with a thumbs-up to the crowd. A few seconds later, however, the 22-year-old was tapping out.
“I lost air,” McDonald said. “He kept squeezing.”
Another action-packed bout in a smaller weight class took place in the co-main event as featherweight Cub Swanson beat Dustin Poirier by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Swanson caught Poirier with his power multiple times while on the feet and swept out of a couple dangerous positions on the ground to also win the grappling portion of the fight.
After losing a fight to Ricardo Lamas — breaking his orbital bone in the process — in his UFC debut, Swanson has rebounded to win four straight.
“I’m just not messing around anymore,” Swanson said. “With my injury, I nearly retired. I know this can be done in every moment. Every fight, I take it like it’s my last.”
Swanson, ranked No. 6 in the 145-pound division coming into the bout, is likely a victory away from a title shot. But that championship wasn’t the topic of conversation after a night full of action at Wembley Arena.
UFC on FUEL TV 7 signaled that Cruz vs. Barao needed to happen as soon as possible.
“That’s the fight I want to do,” UFC President Dana White said. “Hopefully we can do it this summer.”
Find full results from the rest of UFC on FUEL TV 7 below.
In what might be his last fight in the octagon, 39-year-old Cyrille Diabate couldn’t continue into the second half. Diabate, who spoke of retirement leading up to UFC on Fuel TV 7, hurt his calf in the first round against Jimi Manuwa, and cageside doctors didn’t clear him to continue. Manuwa officially wins with a first-round TKO (injury) over Diabate to stay unblemished at 13-0 in the UFC.
One of the UFC’s most promising young talents at welterweight, Gunnar Nelson, picked up his 11th straight win and second in the octagon. Nelson beat Jorge Santiago by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a fight that featured several major exchanges on the feet.
Coming back from a head-kick knockdown in the first round, James Te Huna beat Ryan Jimmo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27). Te Huna was a couple punches away from the fight getting stopped after the memorable strike, but he regained his bearings before the second round and dominated the rest of the way.
Las Vegas resident Matt Riddle traveled some 5,000 miles to thrash a hometown fighter at Wembley Arena. Riddle won a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) over Che Mills in a welterweight bout after successfully taking the Briton down in every round.
For the second straight event, the biggest underdog on the card proved victorious. Brazilian prospect Renee Forte, who dropped from welterweight to lightweight for this fight, battered veteran Terry Etim for 15 minutes en route to a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Wrestling beat jiu-jitsu in a lightweight bout. Danny Castillo was able to take Paul Sass down repeatedly and escape repeated submission attempts while scoring with ground-and-pound strikes. Castillo defeated Sass by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Andy Ogle beat Josh Grispi by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a featherweight bout. Ogle came on strong in the final two rounds while Grispi appeared to gas out.
In one of the best fights of the year so far, Tom “Kong” Watson knocked out Stanislav Nedkov at 4:42 of the second round. Both light heavyweights had their moments, as Nedkov rocked Watson in both the first and second rounds before the comeback.
Vaughan Lee defeated Motonobu Tezuka by unanimous decision in a bantamweight bout, escaping a leglock in the second round to cruise to an otherwise easy victory.
Las Vegas’ Ulysses Gomez earned the unfortunate title of becoming the first UFC flyweight to lose each of his first two bouts in the octagon. Phil Harris beat Gomez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in the first fight of the day.