Michael McDonald has earned what every UFC fighter dreams of receiving.
A shot at a UFC belt.
McDonald brings his three-fight winning streak into the contest against interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao.
Barao defeated Urijah Faber to claim the interim belt in their bout at UFC 149.
McDonald is just 22 years old. Barao is 25, but is much more experienced. McDonald needs to be in top form if he wants to dethrone Barao and take the belt.
Here are some keys he could follow that will lead him to victory.
Barao was able to use his long reach to keep Faber on the outside looking in during their title fight.
Torres attempted to do the same to McDonald in the first round of their fight at UFC 145.
McDonald kept calm and gauged the reach of Torres. He then got inside and began delivering some power shots.
He worked his right uppercut and eventually found the chin of Torres and put him out.
McDonald needs to employ the same strategy against Barao. Get in close, and deliver powerful, accurate shots.
Barao is an incredibly diverse striker.
He uses his range extremely well when in a fight. He was able to keep Faber on the outside while hitting him with punches and leg kicks.
Barao was able to hit Faber with power kicks that began to take away his mobility throughout their fight.
He trains with Jose Aldo, who is known for his blistering and deadly kicks. It makes sense that Barao would pick up some tricks from the featherweight champ.
McDonald would be wise to avoid those kicks and unpredictable strikes as they can throw off any fighter and potentially end the fight.
McDonald is a mere 22 years old.
He has been in 16 fights total in his young career. Barao on the other hand is 25 years old and is an experienced veteran of 30 professional fights.
He already won the biggest fight of his career. That was against Faber to secure the interim belt.
Now it's McDonald's turn.
He is fighting for a UFC belt at such a young age. This is easily the most challenging fight of his career.
McDonald needs to keep calm and stick to his game plan. If he fights without letting the pressure get to him, he has a very real chance of bringing home a belt at the end of the night.
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