Although neither was guaranteed as much, UFC President Dana White did leave the impression that Rory MacDonald or Tyron Woodley could earn a welterweight title shot with a particularly impressive performance in their co-main event showdown at tonight's (Sat., June 14, 2014) UFC 174: "Johnson vs. Bagautinov" pay-per-view (PPV) at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
MacDonald was incredibly aggressive throughout the first round, storming ahead with a varied offense of kicks and punches while battling out of the clinch and avoiding takedown attempts. He did all this with all the support in the world from the crowd.
In short, it was a strong opening five minutes for the Canadian.
The story remained the same in the second. "Ares" was perhaps the most aggressive he's been inside the Octagon, pushing forward and staying strong in the pocket despite hard leg kicks from Woodley, who looked powerless against the relentless force in front of him.
Most interesting was Woodley's strategy. Put simply, he was circling and holding his arms up to block punches. He was wilting under the constant barrage of offense from his opponent, who just would not let up.
And while it's impossible to measure such a thing, MacDonald very simply looked like he wanted it more.
That looked to change in the third round, as Woodley opened with a blitz of punches, one of which appeared to clip the Canadian in his temple. He ate it that shot, however, and firmly reestablished his control of the cage.
Then MacDonald earned a beautiful takedown and this quickly became one of the most impressive performances of his career. Impressive enough for Dana White?
The judges, by the way, scored it 30-27 across the board in favor of MacDonald.
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