The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix will continue to move along with the last quarterfinal bout to be booked, and I will give my thoughts on this brand 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 the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix if he takes on Jon Fitch at a yet-to-be-named event set for April 27 in San Jose, California. Marc Raimondi of all MMAFighting.com broke the information. Here 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 in the other quartefinal matchups completed thus far, with all the Michael Page vs. Paul Daley struggle 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 thus far in Bellator. In his first two Bellator fights, he seemed like one of the greatest fighters in the world as he filed Daley and beat Lima over five rounds to win the welterweight title. Then he moved up in weight in his final bout when he took on Gegard Mousasi in his bid to become a rare Bellator double winner. But MacDonald got crushed in that fight, 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 damage against Mousasi is painful. Then again, MacDonald was fighting up a weight class for the very first time. At welterweight, he is clearly one of the best in the world, and he even owns a dominant win over present 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 streak at the minute which includes a dominant win over Daley within his Bellator debut. As well, Fitch holds notable wins over Jake Shields and Yushin Okami throughout his latest win series, and he was the PFL welterweight champion before signing with Bellator. Since becoming cut from the UFC at 2013, Fitch has gone 7-2 in WSOF, PFL and Bellator. He is no longer among the sport’s elite welterweights like he had been a decade ago, but he has a solid wrestling base that may get him his hand raised.
Having said that, this is MacDonald’s struggle to lose. He must have the takedown defense to keep the fight on the feet, and at the standup there’s no wonder MacDonald is the superior 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 loss to Mousasi, I would nevertheless peg MacDonald about a -500 favorite to defend his belt against Fitch and move on into another round of the championship.
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