Photo via Sherdog
Cariaso surprised many by hanging with the young prodigy early. "The Kamikaze" looked to land leg kicks on McDonald's exposed lead leg while "Mayday" attempted to counter hard with 1-2 combinations straight down the pipe.
Every time Cariaso threw a kick, it was immediately answered with a hard right hand, but he was undeterred.
McDonald, despite having only had one fight go to a decision in his career, seemed a little hesitant while controlling the center of the Octagon.
The 20 year old smartly started mixing in takedown attempts in the second round to counter Cariaso's kicks but "The Kamikaze" showcased an excellent and dangerous guard that forced the young fighter to back away.
In the final round, though, it was Cariaso who took McDonald down and worked his top game. Again, McDonald showed little to no sense of urgency as the clock counted down.
When it was all over, McDonald took a split decision victory, winning 29-28 on two judges' scorecards while Cariaso was awarded on card with a 30-27 score. The fight literally could have gone either way.
For Cariaso, it was a spirited effort in a fight not many expected him to win. He'll definitely be back and tested against a tough bantamweight, perhaps Cole Escovedo.
For McDonald, he really need to improve his aggression. He seemed too willing to sit back and wait for his opponent to come to him. If he faces a counter-striker down the road, that could lead to some ugly fights. McDonald has a lot more than he showed tonight.
Hopefully we'll get to see it next time out.