Modesto's 'Mayday' taps out in fourth

local@modbee.comFebruary 16, 2013 

Mixed martial artist Michael “Mayday” McDonald of Modesto came up short in his bid to become the youngest champion in UFC history when he submitted with 1 minute, 3 seconds, left in the fourth round of his championship bout against Brazil’s Renan Barao on Saturday at London’s Wembley Arena.

McDonald, at 22 years and 32 days old, was fighting for Barao’s interim bantamweight (135) title, which technically still belongs to injured champ Dominick Cruz. But Barao made it clear that if Cruz does come back from his second ACL surgery in the last 14 months, getting the belt from around Barao’s waist won’t be easy.

“Dominick Cruz, I’ll be waiting for you,” Barao said through a translator after the fight. “Please come quick.”

Just after the midway point of the fourth round, Barao got McDonald into a body-lock against the cage. From there, he took down McDonald and put him in an arm-triangle — UFC speak for a chokehold — with about 1:45 left in the round.

McDonald gamely tried to last until the bell, but decided he was partial to oxygen and tapped Barao’s shoulder, ending the contest.

It was the first loss for McDonald (15-2) since suffering a TKO to Cole Escovido on May 8, 2009. It was the first time McDonald had ever gone beyond three rounds in his MMA career. The extra work, plus the fact McDonald battled the flu and was sidelined four days at a critical point late in his training, may have taken a toll. “He’s tired,” Barao’s corner observed during the break between rounds three and four.

McDonald and his team seemed to sense endurance would be an issue. After the second round, McDonald was told by his corner to forget about going the distance. “We’re not going five rounds,” said McDonald’s chief second, brother Justin Smitley, making it clear that Team McDonald was looking to end the fight in a hurry. “We’re not doing that.”

McDonald, who had surgery on his right hand last summer to repair damaged tendons, had not fought since a first-round KO of Miguel Torres at UFC 145 in Atlanta on April 21, 2012. Barao improved to 30-1 (with one no contest) and ran his streak to 31 fights without a loss.

The title bout was the first-ever on Fuel TV, an arm of Fox Sports.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service