An important welterweight matchup is close to being finalized for UFC 174 in Vancouver. If all goes according to plan, Canadian Rory MacDonald will get a huge opportunity on home soil on June 14 against the dangerous Tyron Woodley.
Both men are coming off impressive efforts. MacDonald earned a unanimous decision over Demian Maia at UFC 170, while Woodley was victorious over Carlos Condit at UFC 171 when “The Natural Born Killer” suffered a serious knee injury in round two that halted the fight.
“Ares” has long been touted as the next superstar in the 170-pound weight class and lived up to that potential against Maia. After a tough first round, MacDonald rallied to dominate the Brazilian veteran in the final two rounds with his impressive assortment of leg kicks and pinpoint punches. It was a much-needed win after a previous decision loss at UFC 167 to recent title challenger Robbie Lawler.
MacDonald maintains his killer instinct is back and has welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in his sights. MacDonald, who was expected to succeed his mentor Georges St-Pierre as welterweight champion, is currently ranked no. 2 in the division. The 24-year old Tristar Gym product has shown he has the skills to live up to those high expectations.
While Woodley’s victory over Condit came by way of an unfortunate injury retirement, it didn’t take away from the fact that he looked terrific against the former interim champion. “The Chosen One” landed several strong right hands in the opening round that rocked his opponent, and initially hurt Condit when he took him to the canvas with a perfectly executed takedown in the second stanza. The fight ended after a brutal front leg kick caused Condit’s plant knee to buckle and he crumpled to the canvas in agony with an ACL injury.
The no. 4 ranked Woodley has shown he’s willing to take on anyone and has looked impressive during his four-fight Octagon tenure. His lone setback was a decision loss against Jake Shields at UFC 161. He has a solid wrestling pedigree and formidable power, which he showcased in a brutal knockout win against Josh Koscheck. Woodley’s been able to make a rapid rise within the welterweight ranks, and another victory over MacDonald could earn a title date against Hendricks.
With the champion on the shelf until October, the organization has plenty of time to sort things out in determining a true no. 1 contender to face “Bigg Rigg.” A MacDonald-Woodley clash at UFC 174 will go a long way towards clearing up the current logjam.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports