Rory MacDonald opted to stand and trade with kickboxing specialist Tarec Saffiedine in the main event of UFC Fight Night 54 last night and proved himself up to the task, edging the action in the opening rounds before TKO’ing the former Strikeforce champion out-of-the-blue with a big uppercut early in the third.
MacDonald feeling out with the jab as the main event gets underway. Saffiedine throw a punch to the body. A short exchange in close.
Saffiedine with a double jab now and MacDonald throws a front kick. Another front kick misses for MacDonald. Saffiedine switching up his stance. He lands a leg kick.
MacDonald with a leg kick of his own. He goes back to working behind the jab. Punch followed by a leg kick now. Saffiedine with a jab and then a good right hand lands for MacDonald.
MacDonald catches a kick and tries to take Saffiedine down, but is unsuccessful. MacDonald with another front kick attempt. MacDonald with a decent right then there’s a short exchange and MacDonald catches a kick and takes his opponent down with it.
Saffiedine does well to get back up quickly though. A brief lull in the action then a leg kick from MacDonald. Soon after Saffiedine responds with a hard one of his own. Jab for MacDonald countered by another hard kick from ‘The Sponge’.
Saffiedine with a couple of light jabs as MacDonald paws the air with his own. Short, sap flurry of punches from MacDonald.
MacDonald with a leg kick. Saffiedine with the double jab and a right hand behind it that’s a bit short.
Body kick from Saffiedine. Solid connection on the jab for Saffiedine. Nice body punch from him now and Saffiedine returns with a kick. Front kick to the body from him too.
Solid leg kick for Saffiedine, but MacDonald checks it. Saffiedine continues to find a little success with the double jab. Saffiedine slips a punch and tries to hammer home an overhand right, but misses.
MacDonald attempts to catch a kick, but Saffiedine is free. Saffiedine switching stances and lands a leg kick.
Hard right hand scores for MacDonald. He starts to pressure a little more, backing Saffiedine towards the cage. Two jabs connect for MacDonald. Another lands as the round comes to an end. MacDonald seems to say something to his opponent as they head to their corners.
Saffiedine tries a head kick, but it’s blocked. MacDonald in on a takedown attempt, but no go.
Saffiedine with a few nice punches. He lands a solid leg kick. Another lands. Saffiedine picking up his offensive output a little here.
MacDonald backing Saffiedine up now. He unleashes an overhand right that grazes Saffiedine’s head, then lands a beautifully placed power uppercut that collapses his opponent straight down to the mat.
Saffiedine on his knees and MacDonald is down on the mat hammering him with punches as he looks to finish, and the referee has seen enough, MacDonald wins by TKO at 1.28mins of Rd3.
Nicely done by MacDonald, finding a finish for the first timme in a couple of years which will add weight to his calls for a title shot against the winner of the upcoming rematch between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.