27-Year-Old Bellator Welterweight 18-4-0
February 9, 2017 Rory MacDonald News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Macdonald (nose) will make his Bellator debut with a welterweight matchup against Paul Daley at Bellator 179 on May 19 in London.
MacDonald 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.
Rory MacDonald: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
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.