28-Year-Old Bellator Welterweight 20-4-0
January 22, 2018 Rory MacDonald News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
MacDonald received a 180-day medical suspension following Bellator 192, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.
MacDonald suffered a significant leg injury during his recent fight against Douglas Lima. It's possible that his suspension could be reduced if he's cleared by a doctor, but that could be unlikely given the severity of his injury. In addition to his leg injury, it's believed that MacDonald may have broken his right hand during the fight as well.
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Fantasy AnalysisLike most MacDonald fights, this turned out to be a damage filled war. MacDonald did his best work when he was able to land takedowns and do work from the top. He started the fight with this strategy and won the first two rounds. In the third round, Lima landed a hard leg kick below the knee. MacDonald was clearly injured by the blow and struggled to finish the round. This allowed Lima to have some great moments, but MacDonald continue to push forward and impose his will with his grappling. At the end of the day, the UFC veteran took the decision and the welterweight title on the scorecards. In only his second Bellator fight, MacDonald won the promotion's title over one of the toughest fighters outside of the UFC. With a win over current UFC champion Tyron Woodley some could make the case that he is the best welterweight in the world.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald, a former UFC title challenger, will likely enter the bout as the favorite. He was victorious in his Bellator debut, defeating Paul Daley by rear naked chokehold back in May. Lima most recently defended his belt by defeating Lorenz Larkin by unanimous decision back in late June.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald entered one striking exchange before shooting in for a takedown. From the top, he passed to half guard and landed some solid shots, but he never really opened up with his striking offense from the top. In the second round, MacDonald went back to the same strategy. This time, he got the takedown right into side control. The Canadian unleashed some pretty nasty elbows and short strikes. He then stepped over to the back and finished with the rear-naked choke. This was a badly needed win. After nearly taking the UFC welterweight title from Robbie Lawler in 2015, MacDonald returned and looked lost against Stephen Thompson. With this victory, he has earned a shot against Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
Fantasy AnalysisWith several nose injuries and an 11-month layoff behind him, MacDonald is now ready to enter Wembley Arena in London looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. He's fought the best welterweights the UFC has to offer, and even owns a unanimous decision victory against current champion Tyron Woodley, which likely explains why the "Red King" is such a heavy favorite. Should he take care of business against the 39-14-2 Daley, a fight for the Bellator Welterweight Championship would be next up, where he would face the winner of a June 24 bout between Lorenz Larkin and Douglas Lima.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald has faced many of the UFC's best names during his six-year stint with the promotion, earning victories over the likes of current champion Tyron Woodley, top contender Demian Maia and UFC legend B.J. Penn. After back-to-back losses to Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson, however, he jumped ship to sign a lucrative deal with Bellator. MacDonald's last two fights in the UFC took a large toll, as he suffered a broken nose in each that resulted in a need to take some time off. "The Red King" originally planned on not competing until the summer, but it appears he's healthy enough to kick off his new contract in London. He'll take on one of Bellator's top welterweights in Paul Daley, though MacDonald will hold a height and length advantage, in addition to edge when it comes to quality of recent competition.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald last fought professionally this past June, when he dropped his second consecutive bout at the hands of Stephen Thompson. He had sat out from competition for a year before that fight due to a severe broken nose suffered in his previous loss to Robbie Lawler, and apparently suffered yet another bad break in that June fight. Despite signing a six-fight deal with Bellator in September, it appears MacDonald won't actually be able to compete for the promotion until next summer -- nearly nine months after signing the original deal.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald made waves in the MMA community last week when he left one of the most highly regarded promotions in favor of Bellator MMA. He later went on the popular talk show to discuss the reasons for the move, but did not disclose the financial terms. MacDonald's first fight with Bellator has yet to be booked, but one would imagine the "Red King" has his sights set on current welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov. Koreshkov is a fighter that certainly shouldn't be taken lightly, as he defeated fellow UFC transfer Benson Henderson via unanimous decision in Henderson's first Bellator fight.
Fantasy AnalysisThe deal was later confirmed by ESPN's Brett Okamoto, who reported that the UFC has waived its right to match MacDonald's new contract. The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but they surely must have been lucrative to get one of the UFC's top welterweights on board in arguably the biggest signing in Bellator history. MacDonald, a product of Tristar Gym in Montreal, had recently hit a road block in the UFC, losing back-to-back fights to top welterweights Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson. His fight against Lawler is considered by many to be a top-10 fight of all-time, and his recent defeat at the hands of Thompson was one where MacDonald stayed with him for five rounds before losing a decision. The UFC Welterweight Title likely wasn't within reach for MacDonald any time soon, so he'll head to a new promotion, where Andrey Koreshkov currently holds the belt. MacDonald might also have to get past former UFC lightweight Benson Henderson in his quest to gain the strap.
Fantasy AnalysisIn what was primarily a kickboxing match, Rory did the best he could, but it was abundantly clear that Thompson was the cleaner, crisper striker of the two. MacDonald went for two takedowns in the entire fight, he failed on the first and Wonderboy ended up in side control on the second. Rory emptied the gas tank in Round 5 knowing that he was behind on the scorecards, but his punches struggled to find Thompson on a consistent basis. MacDonald has now lost back-to-back fights. He has fought the best in the world on multiple occasions and while he hasn't always won, there is yet to be a fight where he was blown out. Rory sounded defeated in his post-fight interview with Fox Sports Jon Anik, which was perhaps the most concerning sign of all. This was the last fight on MacDonald's UFC contract, but it's hard to imagine him going anywhere else.
Fantasy AnalysisThe odds for this fight are changing on a regular basis. It’s been nearly a year since MacDonald came up short in his quest for the UFC Welterweight Championship against Robbie Lawler, and he hasn’t fought since. The time off was much needed and well deserved after the beating he took in that fight. Rory has lost twice to Lawler and once to Carlos Condit, resulting in the only three setbacks of his career. MacDonald is just 26 years of age, but he has a lot of MMA miles on his body for such a young man. He has beaten countless quality opponents (Tarec Saffiedine, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, B.J. Penn, Nate Diaz) and we have yet to see him truly struggle in a fight. Even in his losses, he tends to put forth impressive efforts. Rory’s typical passive and counter-attacking style isn’t going to work against Thompson. Wonderboy is literally among the last people in the world you want to get into a striking battle with, and surely MacDonald realizes that. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Rory could earn another title shot if he can somehow finish Thompson impressively.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald hasn't fought since he broke his foot and had his face rearranged in his title fight against Robbie Lawler in July. Rory has quite a hill to climb to get back to the top of the mountain. He is behind Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks and possibly Tyron Woodley in terms of earning another title shot.
Fantasy AnalysisOne look at MacDonald after the fight and you'd be able to tell that his nose was broken. The foot didn't appear to be causing him any noticeable problems during the bout. There's no word how long he will be out due to the injuries, but after the beating he took last night, we aren't going to see him for quite a few months.
Fantasy AnalysisMacDonald struggled to find his rhythm against Lawler early on, but he nearly finished the fight in Round 3. Rory landed a head kick that staggered Lawler and he opened up with punches and knees along the fence. The fight was awfully close to being stopped by referee John McCarthy, but he made the right call to allow it to continue. The end came in Round 5 when Rory was nailed with a punch and he immediately fell to the canvas and covered up. It wasn't a particularly hard shot, but his nose had taken so much damage during the fight that he just couldn't deal with the pain anymore. MacDonald will be upset that he lost, but he proved he's clearly one of the top welterweights in the world. At just 25-years old, Rory is going to get another shot at a title one day.
Fantasy AnalysisThis will be the rematch of a November 2013 fight that Lawler won via split decision. MacDonald is still a young fighter and he is seen as having about as much future potential as anyone in the MMA world. His fighting style isn't always entertaining to watch, but he's extremely effective. Lawler has one of the best chins in the business, so MacDonald's best chance of winning on Saturday would seemingly be to pull out a five-round decision.