While the sun is out in America on Saturday, a Modesto MMA fighter could claim a UFC Championship while the moon is out in London on Saturday night.
Modesto’s Michael “Mayday” McDonald (15-1-0) will take on UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan “Barao” Pegado (29-1-1) on UFC on FUEL TV 7 this weekend in London. McDonald is on an eight-fight win streak and 4-0 in the UFC. Only 22, McDonald can become the youngest champion in the history of the UFC. For as young and successful he is, there does not appear to be an ounce of ego in 'Mayday.' The young bantamweight is considered one of the top fighters in not just in his weight class, but the world.
As focused and determined as McDonald has been to this point in his career, he is squaring off against one of the most underrated champions in the UFC. It might be an interim title to most, but to Pegado, the title he holds promises him a shot at being the best in the world at 135 pounds. Pegado is on an unprecedented 30-fight unbeaten streak, winning 29 bouts with one no-contest since he lost his professional debut in April 2005. The longer that streak continues, the harder it will become for others to doubt his capabilities.
Few MMA promotions, let alone sports entities, have questions regarding who their champions are. The UFC, however, has one glaring question mark that must be handled. With current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz still on the mend from a knee injury he suffered last spring, Renan “Barao” Pegado (29-1-1) defeated Urijah Faber for the interim title. Usually a fighter that wins an interim title is not expected to defend it, but that isn't the case with the bantamweight title. Many believed McDonald deserved a shot at Faber.
Both fighters are accustomed to quick finishes. They’ve won a combined 15 bouts via KO/TKO and 17 via submission. Each fighter has shown quickness in the octagon, the ability to control the tempo of the fight and to finish at any given moment.
With the bantamweight division in a state of disarray and the return date of Cruz still unknown, being interim champion could mean a lot more than it has in the past.
Nitesh Dutt is a Productions Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.