It may have not have been the most fan-friendly victory in the world, but Rory MacDonald’s UFC on Fox 8 win over Jake Ellenberger has nevertheless moved the Canadian one step closer to a potential title shot.
MacDonald shut down the normally aggressive Ellenberger on Saturday night, stifling his foe with a steady jab en route to a unanimous decision win in their co-main event at Seattle’s KeyArena.
“I think I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I kept up my end,” said MacDonald. “He’s a counter-puncher and a very powerful puncher. I was waiting for my opportunities, and he wasn’t coming in at the right times. He was staying back, and he wasn’t engaging. I was playing my angles, and waiting for my opportunities like I always do. He’s a smart fighter. I’ve got to hand it to him.”
Ellenberger appeared to be searching for the perfect opportunity to uncork one of his signature power punches, but that window never opened. Instead, “The Juggernaut” stayed at range for the majority of the bout, eating straight lefts from his longer foe. Though Ellenberger managed to secure a takedown late in the third round, MacDonald neutralized him from the bottom before creating a scramble as the fight ended.
“I just react to what’s in front of me, and [with] the target I was looking at, the opening was [for] the jab,” said MacDonald. “I felt that I did the right thing. I think I might have needed a few more minutes, and I think I would have had a good chance to finish the fight once I had his back.”
MacDonald’s measured approach did not sit well with the fans in attendance, who began to boo the combatants only a few minutes into the bout. Even so, the Canadian -- who previously put forth dominant performances against B.J. Penn, Che Mills, Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz -- made no apologies for his strategy against Ellenberger.
“I didn’t pay too much attention [to the boos]. I was focused on the task at hand and waiting for the knockout to come,” said MacDonald. “I was being patient. I think I did the right thing. I wasn’t rushing in like a fool or an amateur fighter. Sometimes knockouts take a little bit of time, and you’ve got to let it happen. I wasn’t forcing anything, and unfortunately I ran out of time.”