Renan Barao took a major step in his UFC career, retaining the interim bantamweight title after submitting Michael McDonald at UFC on Fuel TV.
Barao has now won 30 decisions in a row, with one fight going to a no contest. He's 30-1 overall and 5-0 in UFC. Barao just needs to beat the injured champion Dominick Cruz in order to assert his dominance over the entire bantamweight division.
Although the fight went into the fourth round, Barao was never in much trouble against McDonald, and it was only a matter of time before he would pull off a move that would end the fight. With the way in which he won, Barao did himself a ton of favors and is getting some of the recognition he richly deserves.
Here's three other fighters who benefited the most.
It's not always easy in taking on an opponent on short notice. Cub Swanson only had about a month to prepare for Dustin Poirier. It didn't look to affect Swanson whatsoever as he dispatched Poirier via unanimous decision.
Beating Poirier doesn't have the same effect for Swanson as beating Dennis Siver would have had. Siver was one of the top contenders in the featherweight division.
Still, Swanson was able to dominate much of the fight against Poirier. It's the kind of performance that Swanson needed to have in order to continue moving up the featherweight rankings. A much less convincing win wouldn't have looked good in the eyes of fans or UFC as it looks to weed out the top contenders from the rest of the pack.
Much like Swanson, Gunnar Nelson had the disadvantage of a short period of time with which to prepare for his opponent. Plus, it had been over a year since Jorge Santiago had last fought in UFC. Santiago remains winless in UFC after losing a unanimous decision to Nelson.
The Brazilian put up a good fight, but it wasn't enough to get past Nelson, especially in the later rounds.
Nelson finds himself quite a ways down in the welterweight rankings. At 24 years old, though, he's got plenty of time to move himself up. Picking up wins against fighters like Santiago is a great way to get some vital experience in the early stage of his career before working up to bigger fights against much tougher opposition.
Right behind Barao on the list of fighters most helped has to be James Te-Huna. He wasn't the most convincing against Ryan Jimmo, but he managed to do even to convince the judges.
What was particularly good was the way Te-Huna recovered to salvage the fight. In the early rounds, it looked like Jimmo might be able to finish off the Australian. Instead, Te-Huna turned the fight around and was able to keep Jimmo on the ground.
The most entertaining thing from the fight, though, was arguably Te-Huna's entrance in which he resembled one of the agents from Men in Black. It was a bit showy, but it will definitely get Te-Huna noticed.
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