Reigning Bellator MMA champion Rory MacDonald has no problem putting his title on the line in the promotion’s ongoing welterweight grand prix and continues to size up potential opponents ahead of his quarterfinal clash with Jon Fitch in the Bellator 220 main event on April 27 in San Jose, California. A victory over Fitch would propel MacDonald into the semifinals, where the undefeated Neiman Gracie awaits.
The 29-year-old Canadian finds the tournament format refreshing, as it helps him stay active and to remain sharp.
“[I like to] see the brackets and see who’s in and who’s out,” MacDonald told the Toronto Sun. “It’s nice to see the elimination process and really see the two guys at the top [and] filter out the weakest. The strong survive.”
MacDonald made his organizational debut at Bellator 179, where he submitted Paul Daley with a second-round rear-naked choke. He then captured the welterweight crown with a unanimous decision over Douglas Lima at Bellator 192. MacDonald knows a rematch with Lima could be in his future, as the Brazilian will face Michael Page in the other tournament semifinal on May 11.
“It was a decision win,” MacDonald said. “He did a lot of damage to my leg. I think it would be an interesting rematch.”
His focus for now remains on Fitch, who has rattled five straight victories. A consummate grinder, Fitch has gone the distance in 23 his 39 career fights.
“He’s a good wrestler, but he’s tough,” MacDonald said. “He can throw big punches, but he likes to grind guys out, be on top [and] smother them.”
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since the first UFC. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.