R.MacDONALD vs. DIAZ
TORONTO, April 30 – Some fighters are never the same after a crushing loss. Others get better. The latter scenario was fitting for Canada’s Rory MacDonald, as he rebounded from last June’s loss to Carlos Condit with a shutout three round decision over Nate Diaz in UFC 129 prelim action at Rogers Centre Saturday night. Watch post-fight interview
Scores for MacDonald were 30-26 twice and 30-27.
“I’m on top of the world,” said the 21 year old MacDonald, now 11-1. “My gameplan was to control the fight.”
MacDonald used his long-range attacks effectively early, keeping Diaz (13-7) at bay until the second minute, when the Stockton, California native was able to close the distance and lock his foe up against the fence. MacDonald didn’t stay there long; instead, he broke free and got back to peppering Diaz from a distance. After a MacDonald initiated lock-up against the fence, the fighters separated for a few seconds until Diaz tied the Canadian up briefly just before the bell.
In the second round, MacDonald imposed his size on Diaz, muscling him down to the canvas twice, where he didn’t score a lot, but just enough to make an impression on his opponent and the judges. Diaz kept battling though, peppering MacDonald on the inside when the two grappled against the fence, and even getting his foe to a knee in one takedown sequence.
Diaz came out in the third looking to turn things around after a slow start, but it was MacDonald keeping the heat on with three thudding slams to the mat that made the crowd erupt. Diaz, as is his custom, never stopped trying to find the opening to catch MacDonald, but as the round progressed, it was clear that such an opening wasn’t coming, and with some of the loudest cheers of the night, MacDonald wrapped up the biggest win of his career.
ELLENBERGER vs. PIERSON
Short notice was no problem for Jake Ellenberger in welterweight action, as he knocked out Toronto’s Sean Pierson in the first round. Watch post-fight interview
After a tentative opening from both men, Ellenberger – who replaced Brian Foster - opened things up with a takedown, but Pierson, a standout Canadian amateur wrestler, jumped up immediately. Moments later though, Ellenberger finished the bout with a crushing left hand that knocked Pierson out before he hit the mat. The end came at the 2:42 mark.
With the win, Ellenberger ups his record to 25-5 and improves his UFC winning streak to four. Pierson falls to 11-5.
PATRICK vs. ROBERTS
Toronto’s own Claude Patrick thrilled his home province fan in welterweight action, eking out a grueling three round unanimous decision win over Daniel Roberts. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Patrick, who improves to 14-1; Roberts falls to 12-2.
Roberts nearly sprinted out of his corner at the bell, receiving a quick takedown for his trouble. After a stalemate between the two jiu-jitsu standouts, they stood, with Patrick trying to use his strikes to set up another takedown. In the final two minutes, Patrick landed a flush left hand to the head of his foe, and after jawing at him briefly, he locked Roberts up and took him down again. Patrick looked for an arm triangle briefly, but when that didn’t work, he rose and rocked “Ninja” with a few more strikes, leaving him winded and seemingly out of it at the bell.
After a minute’s reprieve, Roberts appeared to have his legs back, but Patrick was just as eager to get back into action as he met him at the center of the Octagon. Roberts was able to secure a takedown in that opening minute, but Patrick scrambled to his feet, and after tangling at close range, it was “The Prince” who got the last word with a knee to the head. Midway through the round, Patrick scored a takedown of his own, but Roberts reversed position, and the two continued to scrap on the mat until a final sequence of standup action that produced no significant scoring.
Patrick got the first takedown of the final round, a beautiful leg trip that he parlayed into top position on the mat. Roberts kept working though, and he soon stood and reset the action before being turned away on his own takedown attempt. With under a minute left, referee Dan Miragliotta broke the stalemated welterweights, and it was Roberts who was able to get the action to the mat one more time before the final horn.
MENJIVAR vs. VALENCIA
Bantamweight veteran Ivan Menjivar returned to the Octagon for the first time since UFC 48 in 2004, and he made the most of it, ending Charlie Valencia’s night with a vicious elbow in less than two minutes. Watch post-fight interview
The end came at the 1:30 mark of the opening frame, as Menjivar dropped Valencia with a short left elbow to the nose while the two grappled against the fence. A series of unanswered ground strikes followed, with referee John McCarthy stepping in to rescue the Californian.
With the win, Montreal’s Menjivar ups his record to 22-7. In his first UFC bout, he lost a three round decision to Matt Serra in a lightweight bout. Valencia falls to 12-7.
J.MacDONALD vs. JENSEN
Longtime middleweight standout Jason MacDonald’s comeback to the UFC after three consecutive Octagon losses and a series of injuries finally hit an upturn at Rogers Centre, as he submitted Ryan Jensen in the first round for his first UFC win since he defeated Jason Lambert in 2008. Watch post-fight interview
The action heated up immediately, as MacDonald and Jensen locked up and the Nebraskan locked in a guillotine choke. MacDonald easily escaped and then fired back with a submission attempt of his own from his back, sinking in a triangle choke. Jensen tried to slam and punch his way out of danger, but seconds later, he was forced to tap out at the 1:37 mark.
With the win, MacDonald improves to 26-14; Jensen falls to 16-7.
MAKDESSI vs. WATSON
He was more matador than “Bull” for much of his lightweight bout against The Ultimate Fighter 12’s Kyle Watson, but in the third round, John Makdessi exploded, finishing matters in emphatic fashion with a spinning backfist. Watch post-fight interview
It was a mainly tactical first round between the two former sparring partners, with Makdessi’s more refined and varied striking attack giving him the edge, and in the second stanza, it was more of the same, this time with “The Bull” beginning to tag and stun Watson repeatedly.
By round three, it looked to be just a matter of time before Makdessi lowered the boom on his veteran foe, and at 1:27 of the final round, Makdessi scored with a left spinning back that dropped and finished Watson immediately, upping Makdessi’s unbeaten slate to 9-0.
With the defeat, Watson, who was attended to by the Octagonside physicians for several minutes before leaving on his own power following the bout, falls to 16-8-1.
GARZA vs. JABOUIN
Featherweight up and comer Pablo Garza may have upset the local fans in the featherweight opener, but “The Scarecrow” made an impression on everyone in attendance with a first round submission victory over Yves Jabouin of Montreal that featured a rare flying triangle that won the WEC vet Submission of the Night honors. Watch post-fight interview
Jabouin dropped Garza twice in the opening round with right kicks to the leg. Moments later, the “Tiger” moved upstairs, sending his foe’s mouthpiece flying with a right uppercut. But just when it seemed like the Montrealer was getting into a fight-finishing rhythm, Garza bounced bank and began to nail Jabouin with knees at close range. What came next was a flying triangle attempt, and while Jabouin was able to avoid an immediate end to the bout, Garza stuck with the triangle and finished it, producing a tap at 4:31 of the round.
With the win, Garza improves to 12-1; Jabouin falls to 15-7.