The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix will continue to proceed together with the last quarterfinal bout to be reserved, and I will give my thoughts on this new matchup in the present MMA odds and ends.
Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch, Bellator
Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald will put his belt on the line from the quarterfinals of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix if he chooses Jon Fitch in a yet-to-be-named event set for April 27 at San Jose, California. Marc Raimondi of all MMAFighting.com broke the news. Here is the fourth and final quarterfinal bout at the championship. Douglas Lima beat Andrey Koreshkov in their trilogy struggle and Nieman Gracie upset Ed Ruth at the other quartefinal matchups completed thus far, with the Michael Page vs. Paul Daley fight set to occur in February. The winner of MacDonald vs. Fitch will take on Gracie on that side of the bracket’s semifinals, while Lima will combat the winer of Page vs. Daley.
MacDonald (20-5) is 2-1 thus far in Bellator. In his first two Bellator fights, he looked like one of the best fighters on the planet as he filed Daley and then beat Lima over five rounds to win the welterweight title. He then moved up in his last bout when he took on Gegard Mousasi in his bid to become a rare Bellator double champion. But MacDonald got crushed in that struggle, losing through second-round TKO. MacDonald will have had six months off between the Mousasi and Fitch fights, therefore he ought to be good to go health-wise. But the fact he took so much harm against Mousasi is painful. Then again, MacDonald was battling a weight class for the very first time. At welterweight, he’s definitely one of the very best on the planet, and he even owns a dominant win over current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Fitch (31-7-1) has quietly made a run in the twilight of his profession. Now 40, Fitch is riding a five-fight win streak at the moment which comprises a dominant win over Daley within his Bellator debut. At the same time, Fitch holds notable wins over Jake Shields and Yushin Okami throughout his latest win series, and he had been the PFL welterweight champion before signing with Bellator. Since becoming cut by the UFC in 2013, Fitch has gone 7-2 in WSOF, PFL and Bellator. He’s no longer among the game’s elite welterweights like he was a decade ago, but he still has a good wrestling base that may get him his hands raised.
Having said that, this really is MacDonald’s struggle to lose. He should possess the takedown defense to maintain the battle on the feet, and in the standup there’s no question MacDonald is the exceptional fighter. Fitch hasn’t won a fight by knockout since 2006, so he appears to have no path to success in this bout if he can’t get it to the ground. Even with the reduction to Mousasi, I would nevertheless peg MacDonald around a -500 preferred to defend his belt against Fitch and proceed on into the next round of this championship.
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