The UFC has released tickets for the first event in the UK since Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama headlined at UFC 120, in October 2010. February 16th will see UFC Barao vs McDonald at the Wembley Arena in London.
The main event is a scrap between two of the top 135lbers for the interim title (with Dominic Cruz likely sidelined for the whole of 2013) bringing a title fight to the UK for the first time since UFC 80 in Newcastle when BJ Penn destroyed Joe Stephenson in one of his greatest performances.
Barao won the interim belt against Urijah Faber with a convincing unanimous decision at UFC 149, fighting at range with kicks, jabs and long right hands, the fight was not as exciting as most had hoped, however Barao’s last trip to the UK saw him obliterate Brad “One Punch” Pickett exploding huge shots on the Brits chin he and chasing him to the floor to quickly sink in a rear naked choke, disappointing the crowd out of a home town win but winning fight of the night bonuses for the pair.
McDonald entered the UFC and quitely earned himself 2 unanimous decision victories, then his next 2 fights put him on the map, starting by KO’ing Alex Soto in 56 seconds, which earned him a shot at Miguel Torres a legend at 135lbs having ruled the division for years and helping bring the attention of the world to fighters below 155lbs,
Torres had almost 40 more fights on his record than McDonald but in the fight it was Mcdonald who took control, and ended the fight with a ferocious KO at 3.18 becoming becoming only the 2nd man to stop Torres with strikes in his 45 fight career.
The pair should engage in an exciting war, and show anyone who didn’t already know, that Bantamweights can deliver amazing fights.
The rest of the card has been filled out with British fighters taking opponents from across the world, the card is currently looking like this:
- Interim Bantamweight Championship bout: Renan Barão (ic) vs. Michael McDonald
- Welterweight bout: Matthew Riddle vs. Che Mills
- Featherweight bout: Josh Grispi vs. Andy Ogle
- Lightweight bout Paul Sass vs. Danny Castillo
- Lightweight bout: Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte
- Bantamweight bout: Vaughan Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka
- Flyweight bout: Phil Harris vs. Ulysses Gomez
British KO machine Jimi “The Poster Boy” Manuwa is being strongly rumored to feature on this card in a fight with Cyrille Diabate, which would be an excellent addition to the card, and for the fans hoping to see great fights and KO’s.