Looking at the UFC on Fuel TV 7 event card, a number of fighters stand to lose plenty if they come up short in London. Some lose momentum, others lose hype, and some risk the potential to lose their spot on the UFC roster if they cannot impress in their performance.
Fighters especially run these risks on the main card. Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson stand to lose undefeated records if they fall short, while Michael McDonald, James Te Huna and Matthew Riddle lose steam with defeats. At worst, a loss raises uncertainties about Cyrille DIabate's place at light-heavyweight, or the standing of the Cub Swanson-Dustin Poirier loser, or even Che Mills' endgame at welterweight.
One might believe that Te Huna's opponent, Ryan Jimmo, loses the most if his 17-fight win streak crumbles across the pond, but we know better. While it hurts Jimmo to not improve his standing to 18 wins in 18 fights, he does not lose the most if Te Huna defeats him.
Therefore, let us confirm our understanding of what happens if UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao suffers a loss against McDonald tonight. Take a shot at undisputed champion Dominick Cruz out of the equation, and the other major losses make themselves conspicuous.
Even though we all realize McDonald's potential as one of the only three men to possess a chance to defeat Barao, the aura of invincibility that comes with Barao's record still dissipates if the Brazilian loses. Whether or not his wins get written off as insignificant depends on who gets asked the question, but his stock does take a hit if he loses to McDonald.
Therefore, expect Barao to fight like a master strategist once again, aiming to expose McDonald as reliant and somewhat excessively dependent on just one big power shot and use that strategy to his advantage. Whether on the feet or on the ground, Barao will prepare to battle everywhere with the same grit as McDonald.
However, if fight night comes and Barao's grit outmatches that of "Mayday", a feat in itself by its own merit, chalk it up to Barao owning much to gain from a victory and much more to lose if he meets the agony of defeat inside Wembley Arena.