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Highlights! Gleison Tibau splits Rory MacDonald, still doesn’t make PFL playoffs

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Gleison Tibau v Efrain Escudero Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images

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Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) returned tonight (Thurs. June 17, 2021) for the fifth event of their 2021 season. In the main event, former UFC title challenger and ex-Bellator Welterweight champion Rory MacDonald dueled opposite longtime veteran Gleison Tibau.

MacDonald was a huge favorite in this match up, and after a slow start, the Canadian really started looking the part. Sticking his opponent with front kicks up the middle, McDonald also scored a well-timed leg pickup to back take. It was a solid first round for “The Red King.”

After a very brief takedown opened the second, MacDonald went to his distance strikes, sticking Tibau with clean jabs and crosses. In addition, MacDonald stung his foe with a clean high kick, but Tibau — look more muscular than ever — somehow ate the shot. Tibau did score some decent shots, but without a stoppage inside 10 minutes, Tibau was eliminated from the PFL playoffs.

MacDonald was pretty much in cruise control for round three. Firing lots of kicks at range, MacDonald mixed jabs and takedown attempts into his attack to keep Tibau at bay. The Brazilian did up his aggression in the final frame, but MacDonald remained pretty committed to avoiding dangerous exchanges.

Despite largely controlling the flow of the fight and landing more shots, MacDonald’s relaxed pace in the final five minutes seemingly came back to haunt him. The judges awarded Tibau’s aggression (and, in fairness, some solid power shots across 15 minutes), and he won a split-decision!

Still, Tibau is not in the playoffs, and MacDonald is so ... it could be worse? Ultimately, the MMA world at large is unimpressed with the decision, and they’ve made it known online.


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