Rory MacDonald (file photo) took all three rounds from Nate Diaz. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Canadian welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald made a bold statement in his return to the Octagon.
The 21-year-old former King of the Cage champion outwrestled, out-grappled and out-struck Nate Diaz en route to a one-sided unanimous decision at UFC 129 “St. Pierre vs. Shields” on Saturday at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. All three judges sided with MacDonald: 30-26, 30-27 and 30-26.
Diaz kept it competitive for a round, but “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner had far fewer weapons upon which to call. MacDonald used a varied striking attack and well-timed takedowns to chip away at the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt throughout the first 10 minutes. In round three, he wowed the crowd with three belly-to-back suplexes on Diaz, whom he then battered with standing-to-ground punches.
“I’m on top of the world,” said MacDonald, who won for the 11th time in 12 professional outings and rebounded from his technical knockout loss to former WEC champion Carlos Condit at UFC 115 in June.
Ellenberger Counter Flattens Pierson
Surging welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger knocked out Sean Pierson with a beautiful counter left hook and follow-up blows 2:42 into the first round of their preliminary matchup. Ellenberger, an injury replacement for Brian Foster, accepted the bout on a little more than two weeks’ notice.
“Man, I’m completely happy,” Ellenberger said. “I took the fight on like 16 days’ notice, but I’m so blessed.”
Ellenberger was patient and exact. The 26-year-old Omaha, Neb., native scored with a double-leg takedown and set the tone with power punches on the feet. Pierson pawed with an ill-advised right jab, only to be countered with a left hook to the temple. Dazed, the Canadian turned away from Ellenberger, who met him with a right and followed him to the ground for the finish.
“I didn’t realize I caught him that way,” said Ellenberger, who improved to 4-1 in the UFC. “He’s a warrior. My hat’s off to him.”
Patrick Outpoints Roberts; Streak Reaches 13
One of the welterweight division’s best-kept secrets, Claude Patrick extended his current winning streak to 13 fights with a unanimous decision over Daniel Roberts. All three cageside judges scored it for Patrick by matching 29-28 counts.
Patrick carried the scorecards on the strength of his work in rounds one and three. The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt had Roberts reeling from punches in the first, as he clocked the Cesar Gracie-trained Illinois native with a left hook and rushed him with uppercuts to the head and blows to the body until the horn sounded.
Roberts weathered the onslaught and moved into round two, where he was far more effective. However, fatigue derailed his momentum, as Patrick finished as the stronger of the two. He took down and mounted Roberts in the third period. Later, the Toronto native scored with knees from the clinch and threatened with a pair of guillotine chokes, though neither of them had Roberts in significant danger.
Menjivar Stops Valencia in 90 Seconds
Ivan Menjivar stopped WEC import Charlie Valencia on first-round strikes in their brief but action-packed bantamweight dark match. Valencia yielded to the blows 90 seconds into round one, as referee “Big” John McCarthy intervened on his behalf.
The two 135-pound dynamos traded from the start, but Menjivar delivered a solid two-punch combination, closed the distance and went to work in the clinch. From there, he fired two elbows. The first missed its intended mark. The second did not, slamming into Valencia’s nose and dropping the 5-foot-3 Californian where he stood. Menjivar -- who had not competed in the UFC in nearly seven years -- followed with punches and forced the stoppage.
MacDonald Submits Jensen
In his first Octagon appearance in nearly a year, Jason MacDonald coaxed a tapout from Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Ryan Jensen with a first-round triangle choke. The end to the preliminary middleweight tilt came just 97 seconds into round one.
The well-traveled Canadian escaped an early guillotine choke from Jensen and latched the triangle choke from the bottom. Jensen tried to slam his way free, but MacDonald was relentless and left the Omaha, Neb., native no choice but to surrender.
“The slam is not a good escape for the triangle,” said MacDonald, who had not fought since breaking his leg at UFC 113 in May. “There’s a reason why.”
Makdessi KOs Watson with Spinning-Back Fist
Unbeaten Canadian prospect John Makdessi generated some prime highlight-reel material, as he wiped out “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 semifinalist Kyle Watson with a spectacular spinning-back fist in the third round. Watson met his demise 1:27 into round three, victimized by a vastly superior striker.
“If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be here,” said Makdessi, who remains unbeaten in nine professional outings. “I fight for [you guys]. Of course, I’m very blessed to be victorious, but I still have a lot to improve [upon].”
Makdessi controlled virtually the entire bout with clean, accurate strikes. A left hook in the second round staggered Watson and served to foreshadow what was to come. Makdessi opened a cut under the eye of the H.I.T. Squad representative in the third round, blitzed him when he paused to check the damage, faked a kick and landed the finishing blow. Watson fell to his back, out cold.
Garza Triangle Submits Jabouin
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum Pablo Garza submitted fellow WEC import Yves Jabouin with a first-round triangle choke in a preliminary featherweight bout. Jabouin tapped out to the choke 4:31 into round one.
Jabouin spent the first half of the round landing damaging leg kicks on his 6-foot-1 foe. However, midway through round one, Garza jumped to guard, secured the triangle and turned the tide. Loose at first, he methodically tightened his grip on Jabouin. The Canadian signaled he was OK, only to succumb to the choke soon after.
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