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Rory MacDonald’s time has finally come

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Upon entering the cage to begin the first main event of his UFC career, Rory “Ares” MacDonald lulled the man who would stand across from him into his world before their fist fight even started. His opponent, Belgium’s Tarec Saffiedine, was bouncing around in the cage before the Canadian entered. As he continued to stare into the soul of Saffiedine, a “Sponge” from Brussels who had never been knocked out before his appointment with MacDonald, Tarec would stop to stare right back into Rory’s ice cold eyes. The only difference was, he would blink. MacDonald never did.

Throughout the fight the only problem MacDonald had with Saffiedine were his devastating leg kicks. As they started to add up, Coach Firas Zahabi would suggest that he begin checking them during their sit down after the first round.

One of the things we notice about MacDonald in his fights is that he can lull you to sleep with his left jab early on, a range finder of sorts, only to open up a proverbial can as the fight progresses. While Saffiedine’s kicks were effective, they weren’t enough to stifle MacDonald’s movement as he started to warm up. Now up two rounds to none heading into the third, and with both men having fought to decisions since they began facing stiffer competition in their respective careers (MacDonald in his last 5, Saffiedine his last 7) it appeared we were in for another back and forth technical battle for the ages. Then the following happened.

The Finishing Sequence 

As things start heating up both men start to get more comfortable with one another’s movements. Saffiedine misses with a right leg kick and you can hear Zahabi tell his fighter to “go get him,” before he updates him on the time remaining in the round – 3 minutes and 45 seconds. MacDonald continues to back Saffiedine against the cage and lands a left jab to the face followed by an overhand right and a delicious left uppercut that drops Saffiedine to the canvas. It appears that Rory looks to think sub first but then backs off and uncorks seven consecutive right hands to the head of a now turtled Saffiedine. The fight is waved off and MacDonald proceeds to beat on his chest while staring down at his beaten opponent. When his hand is raised and Bruce Buffer announces him as the winner – we finally see that smile.

What’s Next?

“I think it goes without saying that I’m next for that title. I want that title shot. I want the winner of that next fight. Please give it to me.” This is what MacDonald told Jon Anik in his post fight interview and this is the only option for Rory at this point in his career. He’s beaten everybody the UFC has put in front of him except for Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. Both men have had their title shots and Lawler will get another later this year. If Lawler wins, that gives MacDonald the chance to kill two birds with one stone; avenge his loss and bring that 170 lbs strap back to TriStar. If Hendricks wins, it sets up one of the most intriguing welterweight title fights of all-time. There is one man who could complicate the situation for Rory though, someone very close to him. His name is Georges St. Pierre, and he’s been guaranteed a title shot should he decide to return to the sport. Would he decide to do so with one of his gym mates on the cusp of the greatest moment of his career? Stay tuned.

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