Rory MacDonald believes he deserves the next shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title, and after his performance in the main event of UFC Fight Night “MacDonald vs. Saffiedine,” it is tough to disagree.
The 25-year-old Canadian put a sudden and brutal end to Tarec Saffiedine’s night on Oct. 4, downing the former Strikeforce champion with a third-round uppercut before knocking him senseless with a torrent of right hands on the ground. With his three straight wins over Saffiedine, Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, MacDonald has not only proven his merit as a contender but also shaken the reputation he gained after a few “safe” performances. Now, the Tristar Gym fighter has eyes set on the winner of December’s rematch between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.
The other welterweight headliner on Oct. 4, Rick Story, joins the ranks of the 170-pound contenders after notching a hard-fought, five-round decision over previously unbeaten prospect Gunnar Nelson in Sweden.
Other action saw Raphael Assuncao move up one spot to No. 5 in the bantamweight rankings by soundly outpointing Bryan Caraway over three rounds, while Max Holloway earned a spot on the list of featherweight contenders with a sizzling first-round knockout of Akira Corassani.
Lastly, even with no ranked fighters competing this week, there has been a change to the flyweight top 10. Sherdog.com’s ranking criteria calls for the removal of a fighter following one year of inactivity with no fight scheduled. With former UFC title contender Ali Bagautinov currently serving a one-year suspension for a failed drug test, our panel has made the decision to remove him from the 125-pound rankings. (Going forward, the same rule will apply to any ranked fighter suspended for one year or more, regardless of the reason.) Bagautinov’s exit makes way for a new No. 10 in Dustin Ortiz, while Japanese standouts Hiromasa Ogikubo and Yuki Motoya make their way to the contenders’ list.
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