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Posted 11:40 pm, 05/10/2020

HALIFAX - Rory (Ares) MacDonald has shown his championship credentials. https://www.dallasfo.../15-Jersey . Now he stands in the UFC wings, waiting for his title shot.The 25-year-old welterweight took full advantage of his first UFC main event Saturday night, stopping former Strikeforce champion Tarec (Sponge) Saffiedine at 1:28 of the third round of a televised Fight Night card.It was a clinical finish after two strategic rounds that saw bursts of activity from the two fighters.MacDonald, ranked No. 2 among welterweight contenders, clipped Saffiedine with a right to the back of the head and then felled him with a powerful left uppercut. A turtled Saffiedine was finished on the ground by seven piston-like punches, with referee Herb Dean stepping in to save the American-based Belgian.Saffiedine, ranked ninth, was left dazed and bloody on the canvas.MacDonald (18-2) used his size and reach " and ability to control distance " to blunt Saffiedines considerable kickboxing skills.Tonight I felt at my best, he said after the fight, clad in a stylish suit and his face largely unmarked. I was really flowing out there.As he did in previous 2014 wins over Tyron (The Chosen One) Woodley and Demian Maia, MacDonald negated his opponents skills. Saffiedine, a dangerous fighter, did not look threatening.Man, I dont really have an excuse, said Saffiedine (15-4). I came prepared, I had a good camp. I was mentally ready, physically ready.Now MacDonald awaits UFC 181 on Dec. 6, when champion Johny Hendricks defends his title against No. 1 contender (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler.Despite losing via split decision to Lawler at UFC 167, MacDonald says he doesnt care who wins in December.I just want to fight the best man. Whoever, he said.Whoever it is, MacDonald " a native of Kelowna, B.C., who fights out of Montreal " seems the logical choice to face the winner.I really dont see anyone else, he said. Ive beat some really good guys this year. ... Hopefully the UFC takes notice and puts me in that title fight so I can bring it back here to Canada.I feel like the natural step is the title shot, he added. The 170-pound title used to belong to Georges St-Pierre, who trains with MacDonald in Montreal. St-Pierre vacated the title last December, saying he needed time away from the sport. He has yet to decide whether he will return.While only 25, MacDonald has been fighting in the UFC since January 2010. Now 9-2 in the UFC, he has had to wait his turn.Overshadowed by the iconic GSP, it took him 11 fights to get a main event. A fighter who rarely betrays his emotions, he has taken a zen approach to MMA.I wait and see how everything turns out, he said. Ill reap the benefits later, win or lose.While not one to wear his heart on his sleeve, MacDonald banged his chest when the fight ended Saturday and finally flashed a smile when his hand was raised.Should MacDonald continue his winning ways, one wonders what might happen if St-Pierre decides to come back. UFC boss Dana White has already said GSP could return to a title bout.The two teammates said in the past they wouldnt fight.But while GSP returns from knee surgery sustained training during his hiatus, MacDonald keeps getting better. Against Saffiedine, MacDonald landed 47 of 111 attempted significant strikes for a success rate of 42 per cent (he averages 43 per cent), according to FightMetric. Saffiedine was good on 42 of 136, (30 per cent, well below his average of 50.7 in Strikeforce, fourth-highest in the organizations history).The six-foot MacDonald is a big, well-rounded welterweight. He is both hard to take down and good at taking his opponents down.MacDonald comes across as somewhat cold because of his single-minded focus when it comes to fighting. But Saturday night he paid tribute to his fan support both in Canada and beyond the borders.Its a huge thing for me and all fighters to be recognized for our hard work and what we put on the line when we step in there, he said. It takes some sort of bravery.Its nice when people acknowledge that and are appreciative of what we do.The soldout crowd of 10,782 at the Scotiabank Centre deserved kudos for their enthusiasm and stamina. The main event ended at 2 a.m. local time.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter https://www.dallasfo.../44-Jersey . Hes had three top-10 results this season and feels ready to put it all together and finally hoist a trophy at the top level. https://www.dallasfo.../81-Jersey .com) - Thursday marks the official debut of a new dirt racing surface at Meydan Racecourse.UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will undergo surgery on both his knees next week to repair lingering issues dating back to his high school wrestling days, according to a report from Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight. Helwani said that Weidman has been dealing with recurring swelling and pain in his knees related to torn meniscus he suffered as a teenager and the problems came to a head last week when he suffered prolonged swelling and pain in his left knee, resulting in the decision to undergo an arthroscopic scope procedure to clean up the tear in both knees. "Its something hes been battling throughout his career. About every six months, the left one would get locked up. It just happened twice in the last week aand swelled up and has been painful," said Helwani on UFC Tonight. https://www.dallasfo.../94-Jersey. "So he decided get it cleaned up and get a scope of the left knee and while he was at it, he decided to get the right one cleaned out as well, which was operated on in high school." The champions pending surgery and subsequent recovery time has forced a postponement of the UFC 173 main event on May 24, a title bout against Lyoto Machida. The fight will now headline UFC 175 in Las Vegas on July 5, UFC officials announced earlier this week. "Hes having surgery on Tuesday," Helwani said. "Theyre anticipating a four-week recovery and dont expect any problems to be ready for the fight on July 5th." ' ' '

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