Barao tops McDonald to retain crown

Renan Barao endured an early challenge from Michael McDonald before returning to business as usual.

Barao retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship interim bantamweight title with a fourth-round submission in the main event of UFC on Fuel 7 on Saturday in London.

It was the 31st straight fight without a loss for Barao. The only blemish during the streak was a no-contest in 2007 in Brazil.

McDonald was up to the task early. He went back-and-forth with the champion in the first two rounds.

Barao took control in the third, as he was more active in the striking game and bloodied McDonald’s nose with a flying knee. In the fourth, he secured side control on the challenger and locked in an arm-triangle choke that eventually ended the fight.

The interim champion made it clear after the fight that he wants to unify the belts in the 135-pound division.

“Dominick Cruz, I’m waiting for you,” Barao said through a translator. “Please come back.”

Cruz has not fought since October 2011 because of two anterior cruciate ligament tears.

Featherweight Cub Swanson won his fourth straight fight with a unanimous decision over Dustin Poirier. Swanson won all three rounds on two cards, but each round was tightly contested in a highly entertaining bout.

A light heavyweight bout between Jimi Manuwa and Cyrille Diabate was shaping up the same way until Diabate suffered what appeared to be a calf injury and was unable to continue after the first round, giving the victory to the hometown favorite.

Highly touted welterweight prospect Gunnar Nelson remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision over Jorge Santiago. Nelson took several huge shots just before the final bell but stayed on his feet.

James Te-Huna and Matt Riddle also won decisions on the main card.

On the undercard, Las Vegan Ulysses Gomez dropped to 0-2 in the UFC with a unanimous decision loss to Phil Harris in a flyweight bout.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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