The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix will continue to proceed along with the last quarterfinal bout to be reserved, and I’ll offer my thoughts on this new matchup in today’s 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 this Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix if he chooses Jon Fitch at a yet-to-be-named event set for April 27 at San Jose, California. Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com broke the information. This is the fourth and final quarterfinal bout in 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, together with all the Michael Page vs. Paul Daley fight set to occur in February. The winner of MacDonald vs. Fitch will take on Gracie on the side of the bracket’s semifinals, while Lima will combat the winer of Page vs. Daley.
MacDonald (20-5) is 2-1 so far in Bellator. In his first two Bellator fights, he seemed like one of the greatest fighters on the planet as he submitted Daley and beat Lima more than five rounds to win the welterweight title. Then he moved up in his final bout when he took on Gegard Mousasi in his bid to become a rare Bellator double winner. However, MacDonald got crushed in that struggle, losing via second-round TKO. MacDonald will have had six months off between the Mousasi and Fitch fights, so that he ought to be good to go health-wise. However, the fact he took so much damage against Mousasi is worrisome. Then again, MacDonald was fighting up a weight class for the very first time. At welterweight, he’s definitely one of the best on the planet, and he owns a dominant win over current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Fitch (31-7-1) has made a run at the dusk of his career. Now 40, Fitch is riding a five-fight win series at the minute which includes a dominant win over Daley in his Bellator debut. As well, Fitch holds notable wins over Jake Shields and Yushin Okami throughout his latest win streak, 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 sport’s elite welterweights like he had been a decade ago, but he still has a good wrestling foundation that can get him his hands raised.
Having said that, this is MacDonald’s struggle to lose. He must possess the takedown defense to keep the fight on the toes, and in the standup there is no wonder MacDonald is the exceptional fighter. Fitch hasn’t won a fight by knockout since 2006, so he seems to have no route to victory in this bout if he can not get it to the floor. Despite the loss to Mousasi, I’d nevertheless peg MacDonald around a -500 favorite to defend his belt against Fitch and proceed on to another round of the tournament.
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