UFC Doubleheader Review: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine, Nelson vs. Story
With two outs and men on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, San Francisco Giants third basemen Pablo Sandoval hit a line drive down the left field line off of the Washington Nationals’ Drew Storen. Joe Panik scored to tie the game 1-1. Buster Posey rounded third, but was gunned down by a relay throw from Ian Desmond to end the inning.
The Nationals were within one out of tying the Division Series at one game a piece. Instead, Sandoval’s RBI extended the game into the bottom half of the ninth, then into the tenth, then into the eleventh, until Brandon Belt’s home run in the top of the eighteenth inning put the Giants up 2-1 for good.
Now, you may be wondering what the hell I’m doing writing about baseball. This is an MMA column on an MMA site, goddamnit! First, I love baseball more than I love MMA. Second, Sandoval’s at-bat and the de facto doubleheader created a whole lot of chaos for Fox Sports 1.
The main card of last night’s Fight Night event was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET. The Giants-Nationals overrun pushed the UFC over to FX. The baseball game concluded at midnight, and the Fox Sports 1 switched over to the UFC at the start of Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway’s fightin the co-main event. Hope you weren’t planning on watching the fights on your DVR.
NEXT IS UFC MAJOR CIRCUIT…TITLE BOUT!!
Rory MacDonald cruised for eleven minutes before finishing Tarec Saffiedine with a sequence that started with a right-left combination. It’s MacDonald’s third straight win, moving his record to 18-2, and he won’t hit his 26th birthday until July.
The win cements MacDonald’s claim to a welterweight title shot, and he said as much in his post-fight interview, calling out the winner of December’s rematch between champion Johny Hendricks and challenger Robbie Lawler. Should timelines hold up, MacDonald should cash in sometime late spring or early summer.
RICK “WHAT A STRANGE UFC” STORY
After losing his UFC debut to John Hathaway, Rick Story rattled off six consecutive victories, including decisions over current champ Johny Hendricks and perennial top-ten welterweight Thiago Alves. Story proceeded to drop bouts to Charlie Brenneman (this still comes with a raise of the eyebrow) and Martin Kampmann before alternating wins and losses against mid-level journeymen and young up-and-comers.
By skill sets, Story had the potential to give Gunnar Nelson problems. His wrestling could make it difficult for Nelson to take him down, and his power standing is threatening enough. But Story hasn’t beaten a ranked fighter since the Alves fight in 2011, and did I mention he lost to Charlie Brenneman?
It turns out that Story’s wrestling did give Nelson problems, and his striking made true on its threat. Story took home a split decision,* and I’d bet he fights someone like Jordan Mein with a potential entrance into the top ten on the line.
-Max Holloway knocked out Akira Corassani at 3:11 of the first round. Holloway began his UFC career as a late replacement for Ricardo Lamas against Dustin Poirier at UFC 143. Just 20 at the time, Holloway lost by submission to the older and more experience Poirier. He picked up three straight wins before dropping a split decision to Dennis Bermudez and a unanimous decision to one-man potato famine Conor McGregor. The knockout of Corassani was his fourth straight finish since the loss to McGregor, and still only 22, Holloway’s developing into quite the action fighter.
-As many of you know, this will be my last column at MMA Owl. I want to thank Marlene for giving me the opportunity and Jesse Scheckner, McKinley Noble, Derek Suboticki, and everyone else who wrote for the site as well. You should find my work somewhere in the near future, but if you can’t get enough of me, you can follow me on Twitter or listen to the Untethered MMA podcast, available on iTunes and Libsyn. So, uh, thanks! Later!
Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter.