Last night (Sat., June 14, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley battled for high stakes on the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event of UFC 174 from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
No. 2-ranked MacDonald came in off a UFC 170 victory over Demian Maia, righting the ship after losing a split decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167. The 24-year-old "Ares" was looking to assume the mantle that his good friend and training partner, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, left behind when he vacated the belt in late 2013.
He had a mountain of a challenge in the No. 3-ranked Woodley, who was last seen defeating former interim champ Carlos Condit with an injury stoppage at UFC 171 in March. "Chosen One" was on the hunt for a title shot, but Dana White said he'd have to make fans want to see him fight for a title shot.
In the end, that just didn't happen, as MacDonald began to realize his massive potential with a one-sided victory.
MacDonald came out aggressive with a front kick. He missed a low kick as Woodley was patient. The crowd chanted for "Ares" as the fighters clinched in the center of the cage. Woodley pressed it on the fence with some big knees to the body and legs of MacDonald. He landed a body kick and pressed the pace with some combinations, following with another strong kick.
MacDonald landed a knee and was immediately rushed into the fence. Woodley broke to throw a shot, and MacDonald landed a kick only to be taken down "Ares" got right back up and continued working his technical strikes with more kicks and body shots. He threw a head kick and cut off the Octagon with endless combinations.
MacDonald threw an axe kick to start the second. Woodley snapped a right hand and missed a takedown, landing a big leg kick soon thereafter. MacDonald continued to control the action with his Octagon control, but Woodley landed another leg kick. MacDonald worked the body and was landing effectively with his angles.
Woodley seemed out of his element, his wrestling doing absolutely nothing. Jabs found a home from MacDonald, as did straight rights and even more kicks. MacDonald moved in and out, snapping a strong right hand and taunting Woodley.
"Chosen One" came out aggressive in the third round, throwing his trademark bombs and landing a big shot. MacDonald resumed control of the action, cutting off Woodley again and grabbing a kick. A spinning back kick hit and Woodley said it was low, but referee John McCarthy would have none of it. MacDonald snapped a body shot and dragged the bout to the mat with a takedown.
"Ares" was held in Woodley's guard for quite some time. Woodley didn't take much damage, but he wasn't doing any of his own, and he was far behind on the judges' scorecards. MacDonald got full mount on the ground and switched to side control to rain down shots as a clear-cut unanimous decision came to a close for MacDonald.
He said he was ready for a title shot in his post-fight interview, but that honor has been bestowed upon the winner of July 26's UFC on FOX 12 main event between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown. MacDonald promised that he would hold the belt one day, and he proved that may be true in Vancouver.
There aren't too many fights left for him other than a title shot, so perhaps he'll wait and see what happens between Brown, Lawler and returning champion Johny Hendricks.
Woodley talked a ton of smack, but ultimately couldn't back it up, reaffirming White's insinuation that he was a "50/50 guy." He couldn't come through in the biggest bout of his life, and his stand-up game was completely stifled by the angles and pressure of the younger MacDonald.
He'll have to win several bouts to get back anywhere close to title contention, so a bout against the loser of August's Hector Lombard vs. Dong Hyun Kim bout could be a good rebound fight. Jake Ellenberger is another potential opponent, but Woodley will be hard-pressed to prove he's a good enough all-around fighter to contend with the best 170-pound talent in the world.
Rory MacDonald picked up a huge win with a very convincing decision over Tyron Woodley. With his quest toward the title looming large, where does the rising "Ares" go from here?