UFC Fight Night 89: MacDonald vs. Thompson
By Martin Foley
Simply put, MMA fans are in for a treat this Saturday night with the main event of UFC Fight Night 89 that features top-ranked welterweights Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson.
Thompson, who is coming off of a statement-making victory against former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks with an amazing three-minute, 31-second display that finished Hendricks’ with a strong left hand followed by a barrage of hooks leading to referee John McCarthy to stop the fight. It is the first and only time in Hendricks’ career that he has been knocked out, and many would argue it is one of the top knockouts we have seen in the UFC’s octagon so far in 2016.
MacDonald on the other hand, is coming off of a bout where he was deemed the loser in tough-luck fashion against welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in one of the bloodiest, most exciting and most injury-filled contests that has ever graced the inside of the octagon. MacDonald, the Canadian native who sustained a broken nose and broken foot in the bout against Lawler, was finally put away after Lawler delivered a straight right hand to MacDonald’s nose causing the “Red King” to fall a minute into the fifth and final round.
Both fighters are very capable in terms of striking, and what stood out with Thompson in his knockout victory over Hendricks was his ability to land impactful shots from a distance, stay out of the pocket, and throw at various angles using both his hands and feet. MacDonald features a similar skill set and a kickboxing background, which could set the table for another highlight-filled welterweight contest.
The lone common opponent between the two welterweight contenders is struggling 41-fight veteran Jake Ellenberger, who lost to Thompson via first round knockout and lost to MacDonald via a unanimous decision.
Given Lawler is able to defend his title against Tryon Woodley in the main event of UFC 201 on July 30, it is very likely the winner of this bout will get an opportunity to fight Lawler for the 170-pound title strap.
The co-main event for UFC Ottawa features another 170-pound square off, as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone continues his move to welterweight to take on Patrick Cote.
Cowboy defeated Alex Oliveira in his welterweight debut in February with a slick first-round choke submission. Cote rides a three-fight win streak and has won six of his last seven bouts as he makes his seventh career appearance at welterweight.
Size will likely serve as a major factor in the Cerrone-Oliveira matchup, as Cerrone, a long-time lightweight, battles Cote, who has spent the majority of his career at middleweight and made his UFC debut at 205 pounds.
UFC Fight Night 89 airs this Saturday, June 18, free and live on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET. The 13 bouts set to take place at Arena at TD Place in Ottawa can be found below:
Welterweight: Rory MacDonald (18-3) vs. Stephen Thompson (12-1)
Welterweight: Donald Cerrone (29-7) vs. Patrick Cote (23-9)
Light Heavyweight: Steve Bossé (11-2) vs. Sean O’Connell (17-7)
Lightweight: Oliver Aubin Mercier (7-2) vs. Thibault Gouti (11-1)
Women’s Catchweight (125): Valerie Letourneau (8-4) vs. Joanne Calderwood (10-1)
Lightweight: Jason Saggo (11-2) vs. Leandro Silva (19-3-1)
Light Heavyweight: Misha Cirkunov (11-2) vs. Ion Cutelaba (11-1)
Middleweight: Tamdan McCrory (14-3) vs. Zrzysztof Jotko (17-1)
Bantamweight: Joe Soto (15-5) vs. Chris Beal (10-2)
Middleweight: Elias Theodorou (11-1) vs. Sam Alvey (26-7)
Women’s Strawweight: Randa Markos (5-3) vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-2)
Welterweight: Colby Covington (8-1) vs. Jonathan Meuiner (7-0)
Flyweight: Ali Bagautinov (14-5) vs. Geane Herrera (9-1)
Martin Foley is a contributing writer for MMA for Frontproof Media. Foley works in public relations while taking classes towards his master's degree in strategic communication. You can follow Martin on Twitter @mart_fo.