The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix will continue to proceed together with the past quarterfinal bout to be booked, and I will give 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 the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix when he takes on Jon Fitch in a yet-to-be-named event set for April 27 at San Jose, California. Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com broke the news. This is the fourth and final quarterfinal bout at the tournament. Douglas Lima beat Andrey Koreshkov within their trilogy struggle and Nieman Gracie upset Ed Ruth in another quartefinal matchups completed so far, together with all the Michael Page vs. Paul Daley struggle set to take place 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 looked like one of the greatest fighters on the planet as he submitted Daley and then beat Lima more than five rounds to win the welterweight title. Then he moved up in his last bout when he took on Gegard Mousasi in his bid to be a rare Bellator double champion. However, MacDonald got defeated in that struggle, losing through second-round TKO. MacDonald will have had six months off between the Mousasi and Fitch fights, therefore he should 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. In welterweight, he’s clearly among the best in the world, and he even owns a dominant win over current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Fitch (31-7-1) has made a run at the dusk of his profession. Currently 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 during 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 game’s elite welterweights like he was a decade ago, but he still has a good wrestling base that can get him his hand raised.
That being said, this is MacDonald’s struggle to lose. He should possess the takedown defense to keep the fight on the feet, and in the standup there’s 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 success in this bout if he can’t get it into the floor. Despite the loss to Mousasi, I would still peg MacDonald about a -500 preferred to defend his belt against Fitch and proceed on to the next round of this tournament.
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