COMMENTARY | UFC on Fuel TV 7 isn't exactly a star studded event, but it's filled with a bunch of competitive matchups.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC on Fuel TV 7 fight card set for Feb. 16, at the Wembley Arena in London, England:
Renan Barão vs. Michael McDonaldBarão secured the interim bantamweight title with his unanimous decision victory against Urijah Faber last summer, and he'll defend his belt for the first time when he faces McDonald at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Both men are well-rounded fighters, which should lead to a competitive fight. McDonald should be able to hold his own against Renan early on in their encounter, but the Brazilian's experience advantage should pay dividends during the championship rounds.
Prediction: Barão wins via decision.
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin PoirierSwanson is currently on a solid three-fight win streak, racking up wins against Charles Oliveira, Ross Pearson, and George Roop. Poirier is one of the rising stars in the UFC's featherweight division, but I'm not sure he's ready for the likes of Swanson. Poirier struggled against the "Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung, who dominated him with his grappling. And Swanson has all the tools needed to do the same.
Prediction: Swanson wins via TKO.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille DiabatéManuwa looked good during his UFC debut, securing a TKO victory against Kyle Kingsbury in 2012. Jimi will be in for another tough challenge when he faces Diabaté at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Cyrille is a highly skilled striker, but Manuwa is no slouch standing up either. Jimi is also the more-rounded MMA fighter, which should give him the edge when the two collide on Feb. 16.
Prediction: Manuwa wins via TKO.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge SantiagoNelson made quick work out of "Ultimate Fighter" season 9 runner-up, DaMarques Johnson, at UFC on Fuel TV 5, winning his promotional debut via submission at the 3:54 mark of the first round of their encounter. However, he'll be in for a tougher test when he faces Jorge Santiago at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Santiago is an experienced MMA veteran who has faced many of the best fighters around right now. His submission defense is solid, and Jorge should give Gunnar a much tougher test than many seem to think. Unfortunately for Santiago, I don't think it'll be enough to steal the victory.
Prediction: Gunnar wins via decision.
James Te-Huna vs. Ryan JimmoTe-Huna has put together a decent record in the UFC, winning four of his five fights in the promotion (his only loss was to Alexander Gustafsson). Jimmo made history during his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, knocking Anthony Perosh out in seven seconds at UFC 149 (tied Todd Duffee and the Korean Zombie for the fastest KO in the promotion's history).
As impressive as Jimmo's debut was -- and his 17-1 professional MMA record -- the reality is: the level of his previous competition hasn't been that high. Te-Huna on the other hand has already faced some of the best fighters around, and I expect him to emerge victorious at UFC on Fuel TV 7.
Prediction: Te-Huna wins via KO.
Che Mills vs. Matthew RiddleMills has won two of his three fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but he'll have his hands full when he faces Riddle at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Che will have the advantage in the striking department, but Riddle's chin is rock-solid. He'll probably get rocked a few times during their Feb. 16 encounter, but "Deep Waters" should be able to push through anything that's thrown his way and dominate Mills with his wrestling. It should be one of the most entertaining fights of the night.
Prediction: Riddle wins via decision.
Terry Etim defeats Renee Forte
Paul Sass defeats Danny Castillo
Josh Grispi defeats Andy Ogle
Tom Watson defeats Stanislav Nedkov
Vaughan Lee defeats Motonobu Tezuka
Ulysses Gomez defeats Phil Harris
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