Stephen Thompson defeated Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision tonight at UFC Fight Night 89 as he moved to within touching distance of a welterweight title shot.
The main event of the evening is underway. Both men size each other up from range in the opening minute.
Side kick attempt from Thompson. Out of nowhere MacDonald suddenly rolls into a heel hook, but Thompson manages to yank his leg free and keep the fight standing.
Nice head kick attempt from MacDonald that just seemed to glance over the top of his opponent’s head. Thompson looks to come in, but MacDonald keeps him at bay with his jab.
MacDonald in on that rolling heel hook again, but misses it this time. He resets on the feet. Thompson with a short flurry of punches and a kick.
Low kick for Thompson as he starts to settle into the fight. Kick from MacDonald. Eye-catching spinning kick from Thompson to the body.
Solid side kick to the midsection from Thompson. MacDonald clinches and lands an elbow, while Thompson lands a few short punches. They clinch up against the cage, with Thompson pressing his opponent, then moving away after a short flurry.
Head kick attempt from MacDonald and that’s the final action of the round.
Side kick from MacDonald. Leg kick for Thompson and one to the body. MacDonald feels out with the front kick.
MacDonald steps in wit hthe jab, but Thompson isn’t there for it. Leg kick for MacDonald. Thompson tries to land the question mark kick.
Clinch from MacDonald and lands a solid knee to the midsection before they separate. left hook and a kick from MacDonald.
That rolling heel hook from MacDonald again, but third time is not a charm for that technique. However, soon after he sees that lead kick sticking out and swoops in for a single leg takedown. He can’t land it though and Thompson lands a strike as he back away.
Thompson leaps in with a jab. Head kick from MacDonald is blocked. Quick side kick to the body from Thompson. He snaps out the jab now. Back to the side kick.
Crowd starting to get a bit impatient with this relatively cautious, strategic approach from both men as the round comes to a close.
Leg kick for Thompson. Side kick upstairs, but doesn’t land. MacDonald pressuring him with a couple of right hooks in succession.
Body kick for Thompson. Lands a right hand too. Good left hook counter for MacDonald now. Clinch for MacDonald and tries to land the knee, then Thompson counters.
MacDonald dropping down with Thompson trying to work on a leg lock, but Thompson is able to get back upright.
Solid right hook for MacDonald on the counter. macDonald feeling out with the jab. Left hand and a kick from Thompson.
Right hand connects for MacDonald. Left and a right lands as Thompson rushes in. Body kick for MacDonald and a side kick from Thompson.
Crowd get impatient again with a minute to go in the round. left hand sneaks through for Thompson. Left and a right flashes out for Thompson. Now another left.
Right hook lands for MacDonald. He attempts a high kick as the round ends.
MacDonald looking for a home for his straight right. Side kick to the body for Thompson. MacDonald trying to get into range for punches.
Thompson clips MacDonald with a punch and there’s a brief exchange. Both men throwing harder now. Leg kick for Thompson and MacDonald counters with a punch, but struggles to land cleanly.
Quick jab for Thompson. Solid right hand for MacDonald. Now a left hand gets through. Thompson lands a counter and then works upstairs and to the body with a few punches.
leg kick for Thompson. Another. Jab lands for MacDonald. Uppercut for Thompson. Solid side kick for him.
A brief lull as Thompson moves around, light on his feet in this fourth round. He tries a leg kick, but MacDonald lands a nice jab.
Now it’s Thompson who lands a left hand. He goes to the body again with the side kick and then counters soon after with a punch that connects solidly.
Nice flurry from Thompson in the final 10 seconds of the round, finishing with a kick.
MacDonald wades in with a right hand. Side kick for Thompson. leg kick for him. He works in an uppercut.
Short left hook in close from MacDonald and then eats a punch himself. Thompson looks to exchange and eats a good right hand.
Suprisingly Thompson abandons his movement for a moment and just trades toe-to-toe with MacDonald and it’s the Canadian who seemed to edge that exchange.
Wheel kick partially lands for Thompson and MacDonald’s bleeding from the nose after that. MacDonald attempts a takedown, but it’s botched and Thompson ends up on top in side control.
Less than two minutes to go and Thompson opts to just back up and get back to striking range.
Thompson with strikes and MacDonald looked dazed by that for a moment. Kick from Thompson and an overhand from MacDonald.
Quick strikes from Thompson. Couple of nice knees upstairs from MacDonald. He lands a push kick. Spinning kick from Thompson is blocked as the round comes a close. We’re headed to the scorecards!
No doubts in the judges minds about who won here, with Stephen Thompson earning a unanimous decision victory (50-45 x2, 48-47).
Thompson was the quicker and more agile of the two here, picked up the pace in the closing rounds and showed good takedown defense throughout in what proved to be somewhat of a tactical battle rather than an all-out war for the most part.
This was the last fight on MacDonald’s current contract, and losing will put a bit of a dent in his plan to test his worth on the open market, so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.