Once a rising phenom turned mortal man, Rory MacDonald returned to the Octagon to do battle against submission specialist Demian Maia on the main card of tonight's (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014) UFC 170: "Rousey vs. McMann" pay-per-view (PPV) from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Welcome back to the winner's circle.
It took less than 10 seconds for Maia to shoot in for a takedown. He failed on his first attempt but would not be denied on the second, ending up on top and working from MacDonald's butterfly guard. Almost the entire first round was spent with the two battling on the mat, the Brazilian on top the whole way.
Once Rory managed to get back to his feet, he fired away and landed hard. Too little too late for the round, however.
MacDonald was all aggression in the second. Maia's singular goal was earning another takedown but "Ares" was having none of it after that first few minutes. In fact, this was the old Chuck Liddell special: sprawl and brawl.
By the end of the round, fans were wildly cheering and chanting "RO-RY". Maia, meanwhile, looked lost without his grappling game.
He found it in the third, working hard for a single leg before completing it. Unfortunately, he couldn't capitalize on it and MacDonald monkey flipped him to get back to standing, where he went right back to being super aggressive.
That totally flew in the face of the recent narrative.
When the final horn sounded, both fighters had their hands raised. MacDonald seemed like the winner, but the scoring in these fights can get goofy.
Judges: 29-28 across the board, all in favor of MacDonald.
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