UFC on Fuel 7 Barao vs. McDonald: Wrestling Observer Picks & Preview



By Josh NasonUFC on Fuel 7

In the shadow of the loaded Super Bowl weekend show and in the midst of ROUSEYMANIA, the little card that could - UFC on Fuel 7 -- roars this afternoon with an awesome main event that way too few people will ever see.

Our panel:

- Dave Meltzer (5-8): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Bryan Alvarez (3-6): Figure Four Weekly founder and writer

- Todd Martin (7-6): Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (5-8): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (8-5) of Tough Talk

- Josh Nason (8-5): Wrestling Observer web editor, social media guy

- Oliver Copp (5-8) of "Oliver Knows" fame

135-pound interim champion Renan Barao (29-1-0-1) vs. Michael McDonald (15-1)

Barao looks for the first defense of the interim bantamweight title he won in July, extending a ridiculous unbeaten streak that began after his first fight in the spring of 2005. HIs challenger: the 22-year-old fast rising knockout prospect McDonald, who last was seen in April 2012 knocking out Miguel Torres. This has the potential to be an awesome fight, but as many will tell you, a relative small amount of people will see it because this is on Fuel.

Barao: Nason, Meltzer, Alvarez, Sempervive, Martin, Sawyer, Copp

Cub Swanson (18-5) vs. Dustin Poirier (13-2)

The resurgent Swanson has ripped off three straight wins, all T/KO finishes of George Roop, Ross Pearson and Charles Oliveira respectively. In a slot originally slated for Dennis Siver, Poirier steps in due to injury, fresh off a dominant first round submission win over Jonathan Brookins in December. The winner puts themselves in a great position for a featherweight title shot.

Swanson: Alvarez, Nason
Poirier: Meltzer, Sempervive, Martin, Sawyer, Copp

Gunnar Nelson (10-0-1) vs. Jorge Santiago (25-10)

The 24-year-old Nelson looks to remain undefeated after he made his UFC debut in September with a first round submission win over DaMarques Johnson. He's got finishes in all of his victories. He faces Santiago, an injury replacement for Justin Edwards. Santiago was cut in the fall of 2011 after two straight losses, but picked up two first round knockout wins in Titan FC in 2012.

Nelson: Meltzer, Alvarez, Sempervive, Nason, Martin, Sawyer, Copp

Jimi Manuwa (12-0) vs. Cyrille Diabate (19-6-1)

The undefeated Manuwa made his UFC debut in September with a second round TKO win over Kyle Kingsbury. Like Nelson, he also has finishes in all of his victories. He faces the 39-year-old Diabate, a winner in two straight and who is coming off a first round submission win over Chad Griggs in November.

Manuwa: Meltzer, Alvarez, Sempervive, Martin, Nason, Sawyer, Copp

James Te-Huna (15-5) vs. Ryan Jimmo (17-1)

Since a February 2011 loss to Alexander Gustafsson, Te-Huna has three straight wins and last beat Joey Beltran by unanimous decision in July 2012. He faces Jimmo who made his UFC debut an impressive one with a seven second KO win over Anthony Perosh in July. Since losing his first fight, Jimmo has 17 straight wins.

Te-Huna: Nason, Alvarez, Martin, Sawyer, Copp
Jimmo: Meltzer, Sempervive

Watch all the action Fuel TV starting at 2 PM Eastern and if you're one of the millions who don't get Fuel, keep up with all the action here on WrestlingObserver.com!

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