VANCOUVER — Rory MacDonald showed up to UFC 174 with a mission to prove he deserved to be in the conversation to earn the next crack at the welterweight title and champion Johny Hendricks.
While MacDonald’s performances have been uneven in fights against opponents such as Jake Ellenberger and Robbie Lawler, he looked like a completely confident fighter standing toe-to-toe with powerful puncher Tyron Woodley.
MacDonald stalked his prey all over the Octagon, continuously trapping Woodley against the cage where he was literally able to pick and choose his shots. Throughout the course of the fight, MacDonald established a crippling jab that popped Woodley in the face repeatedly and left him little space to answer back.
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As the minutes ticked away, MacDonald’s confidence grew and Woodley’s bizarre performance continued as he just couldn’t find an answer to the Canadian’s striking and aggressive game plan. The third round even saw MacDonald put the former Missouri wrestler down on the mat where he overwhelmed Woodley for the final minute of the fight, blasting him with punches until the horn finally sounded.
The judges didn’t have a difficult job to get the score correct in the co-main event as MacDonald pitched a shutout winning 30-27 across the board. The Vancouver crowd roared as MacDonald stood victorious in one of the biggest fights of his young career.
The final statistics from Fight Trax had MacDonald landing nearly three to one in total strikes over the course of three rounds.
Following the fight, MacDonald acknowledged how well his strategy against Woodley worked, but it didn’t take long for the topic of the welterweight title to come up. MacDonald stated that he respects the UFC’s decision to give the next shot to the winner of the upcoming bout between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown, but he’s prepared to fight for the belt as soon as they make the call.
"They should know I’m ready," MacDonald said. "And one day, very soon the belt will be mine."