Coverage of the event – due to start in the early evening in London – will start on Fuel TV at 2:00 PM ET.
UFC London 2013 – as it is also being billed – will be the first event to be held in the historic London venue, and the first time UFC has visited the city since UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama in October 2010. It will be the sixth UFC event to be held in London and the 13th event to be hosted by a United Kingdom city.
The event will be headlined by Renan Barao’s UFC Interim Bantamweight title defense against Michael McDonald.
After the excitement of UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar earlier this month, bettors can expect more intriguing action from this one despite its apparent lack of star power.
Barao vs. McDonald
Interim UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao (31-1-0, 1NC) will look to win his 20th straight fight on Saturday night.
The Brazilian native hasn’t tasted defeat since his very first bout back in April 2005, and only a No Contest result against Caludemir Souza in December 2007 sits between him and 29 straight wins. Since arriving in UFC – following the merger with WEC – he has gone 4-0, winning the interim title in his third bout.
For many, Barao is on a collision course with bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, currently sidelined with an ACL injury.
Barao battled at UFC 136 in Birmingham, England, defeating Brad Pickett via submission in the first round. That bout won Fight of the Night honors. Barao will hope to repeat that achievement on Saturday.
At just 22 years of age, Michael “Mayday” McDonald (15-1-0) has a shot at becoming the youngest champion in UFC history.
The young Californian has ran out to a 4-0 record since entering UFC two years ago, and has won his last two fights with first round knockouts. His knockout of Alex Soto at UFC 139 scored a Knockout of the Night award. Doing the same on Saturday would be a huge statement.
Barao (1/3) is favored to retain his title against the underdog McDonald (23/10).
Swanson vs. Poirier
Cub Swanson (18-5-0) will look to build on a three-fight winning streak on Saturday night. After losing his UFC debut, the Palm Springs fighter has defeated the international trio of George Roop, Ross Pearson, and Charles Oliveira in the span of less than nine months. After five months off, he’ll reenter the Octagon in London.
Swanson certainly has pedigree. His last two fights have seen him pick up Knockout of the Night honors while he was a three-time Fight of the Night winner whilst fighting in WEC.
It was only two months ago that Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (13-2-0) stepped into the Octagon to take down Jonathan Brookings, winning via submission in the opening round. Now the talented Lafayette native will look to make it two wins in a row.
Poirier’s battle with Jung Chan-Sung last May (UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier) is widely regarded as the Fight of the Year. Poirier lost that bout but certainly gained respect in the process. A win over Swanson would see him rocket up the featherweight rankings.
Poirier’s pedigree and the Swanson’s talent could well see this fight steal the show on Saturday.
Swanson (4/5) is a very narrow favorite over Poirier (20/21). This one’s going to be exciting.
Manuwa vs. Diabate
Jimi “The Poster Boy” Manuwa (12-0-0) will look to record a 13th professional win and a second UFC win in front of a hometown audience on Saturday.
That hometown crowd could prove a huge advantage. All 12 of Manuwa’s previous bouts have been in England, with eight coming in London. His opponent has fared less well in the United Kingdon.
Cyrille “Snake” Diabate (20-8-3) has a 3-5 record when fighting in the United Kingdom, with a 3-3 record in London. His last bout in England (UFC 138) saw him lose via submission to Anthony Perosh.
Diabate has won nine of his last 11 bouts, but Saturday night will be a tough one; Manuwa has won eight straight fights, and 11 of 12, either by knockout or TKO.
Hometown favorite Manuwa (5/12) is favored over Diabate (19/10) in this light heavyweight contest.
Best of the Rest
Elsewhere on the Main Card, undefeated Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (10-0-1) will take on Jorge “The Sandman” Santiago (23-10-0) in a welterweight clash. With 10 straight wins, the Icelandic submission specialist will look to send the Brazilian to a third UFC defeat.
Undefeated Nelson (4/11) is a heavy favorite over Santiago (43/20).
In the light heavyweight division, New Zealander James Te Huna (17-5-0) will look to win a fourth straight bout and move to 5-1 since joining UFC on Saturday. He’ll be up against Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo (17-1-0) who won Knockout of the Night honors in his UFC debut back in July. Since losing his first professional fight, Jimmo has notched 17 straight wins and will be looking to prove himself in this one.
Te Huna (10/23) enters the bout as favorite over Jimmo (9/5).
Finally, Che “Beautiful” Mills (15-5-0, 1NC) will compete against Matthew Riddle (7-3-0, 1NC) in a welterweight contest. Mills will look to ride the support of his native English fans to a second straight win and a 3-1 UFC record. Riddle will look to build on November’s win over John Maguire as he looks to put a failed drug test and an overturned submission victory (at UFC 149) behind him.
Mills (10/19) is favored to defeat Riddle (31/20).
For more information regarding the preliminary card of UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald and current odds, checkout our quick guide below.
UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald
Saturday 16 February, 2:00 PM ET
Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom
All odds supplied by Bovada.
Renan Barao (31-1-0, 1NC) vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald (15-1-0)
Class: Bantamweight (UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship bout)
Odds: Barao (1/3), McDonald (23/10)
Cub Swanson (18-5-0) vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (13-2-0)
Odds: Swanson (4/5), Poirier (20/21)
Jimi “The Poster Boy” Manuwa (12-0-0) vs. Cyrille “Snake” Diabate (20-8-3)
Class: Light Heavyweight
Odds: Manuwa (5/12), Diabate (19/10)
Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (10-0-1) vs. Jorge “The Sandman” Santiago (23-10-0)
Odds: Nelson (4/11), Santiago (43/20)
James Te Huna (17-5-0) vs. Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo (17-1-0)
Class: Light Heavyweight
Odds: Te Huna (10/23), Jimmo (9/5)
Che “Beautiful” Mills (15-5-0, 1NC) vs. Natthew Riddle (7-3-0, 1NC)
Odds: Mills (10/19), Riddle (31/20)
Terry Etim (15-4-0) vs. Renee Forte (7-2-0)
Odds: Etim (20/67), Forte (51/20)
Paul “Sassangle” Sass (13-1-0) vs. Danny “Last Call” Castillo (14-5-0)
Odds: Sass (20/23), Castillo (20/23)
Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle (8-2-0) vs. Josh “The Fluke” Grispi (14-4-0)
Odds: Ogle (23/10), Grispi (20/29)
Tom “Kong” Watson (15-5-0) vs. Stanislaw Nedkov (12-0-0, 1NC)
Odds: Watson (5/7), Nedkov (11/10)
Vaughan Lee (12-8-1) vs. Motonobu Tezuka (19-5-4)
Odds: Lee (10/19), Tezuka (31/20)
Phil Harris (21-10-0, 1NC) vs. Ulysees “Useless” Gomez (9-3-0)
Odds: Harris (19/10), Gomez (5/12)