ATLANTA, April 21 - Rory MacDonald once again ran roughshod over an opponent and showed the kind of skills that have many pegging the 22-year-old as the future king of the welterweight division, as he stopped England’s Che Mills in the second round of their UFC 145 co-main event at Philips Arena Saturday night.
Though Mills tagged him a few early, MacDonald easily scored takedowns and inflicted brutal ground and pound. Mills bled badly and gamely survived the onslaught, but the inevitable referee stoppage came at 2:20 of the second round as MacDonald pounded away.
“I took this fight very seriously and trained as hard as all my fights and I’m very happy,” said MacDonald (13-1), competing in a co-main event for the first time in his young career. “I could tell I was landing big shots and when I hit guys on the ground clean I know they will be hurt. Che was a great opponent. He didn’t get much respect in the media because of his lack of fights in the UFC.”
Asked by commentator Joe Rogan to assess his place in the division, MacDonald (who trains alongside UFC champ Georges St-Pierre) responded humbly.
“I want to be champion one day but I’m still very young,” he said. “One thing I lack is experience and I’m aware of that. I need a lot more fights and need to stay regular with at least three fights a year.”
ROTHWELL VS. SCHAUB
That old and oh-so-true cliché – “Anything can happen with four ounce gloves” – was on display in this one. Especially when the guy wearing four-ounce gloves is 6’4”, 263 pounds like Ben Rothwell.
Embattled early by a hard-charging Brendan Schaub, and seemingly in trouble, Rothwell uncorked a left hook to the temple that instantly shifted his fortunes. At 1:10 of the opening frame, Schaub was out cold and Rothwell was telling the world about how he has rededicated himself to the sport.
“You take a look at me and it speaks for itself,” said the noticeably more svelte heavyweight. “I trained very, very hard for this fight and it showed. I’m not backing down, I know my chin can take some shots. If you’re going to stand in front of me you’re probably going to go down.”
In victory, Rothwell pushed his record to 32-8. Schaub fell to 9-3. Watch Rothwell's post-fight interview
TORRES VS. MCDONALD
Michael McDonald raised eyebrows before this fight, seemingly downplaying the threat posed by former world champion Miguel Angel Torres. But McDonald backed up his bravado, knocking out the bantamweight pioneer three minutes and 18 seconds into the clash. A short left jab set up a thunderous right uppercut that dropped Torres. The 21-year-old McDonald pounced with punches and the referee rushed in and halted the action.
“I was paying attention to his range and trying to make sure he didn’t get off that jab,” McDonald, 4-0 in the UFC and 15-1 overall, said of the signature win of his young career. “I was just really focused on my power and my accuracy.
“I feel great. I can finally eat some pizza some ice cream. It’s going to be a party tonight.” Hear what "Mayday" had to say in his post-fight interview
YAGIN VS. HOMINICK
For the first eight minutes or so of this tussle, a lot of fans were probably wondering, ‘What happened to Mark Hominick?’
Only one year ago, Hominick was the man who gave Jose Aldo his stiffest test inside the Octagon, the fighter who pounded on the world champ until the final horn in round five. After Saturday night, however, “The Machine” is searching for answers after suffering his second straight setback since the unexpected passing of famed trainer Shawn Tompkins at age 37.
The free-swinging Eddie Yagin dropped Hominick twice in the first two rounds, a battering that bloodied Hominick (20-11) and also caused large welts on his face. Yet after sleep-walking through the bout’s first eight minutes or so, a beat-up Hominick began to heat up and grow in confidence as the war waged on. Showing no quit, Hominick severely busted up Yagin’s nose and it was the stocky Hawaiian who seemed to fade down the stretch. But with three rounds instead of five, Yagin (16-5-1) held on for a split decision win by scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29. Get Yagin's thoughts on his Fight of the Night performance
BOCEK VS. ALESSIO
John Alessio waited five and ½ years and 21 fights for his return to the UFC. But the seasoned veteran will have to wait a little bit longer for his first victory in the Octagon. Fellow Canadian Mark Bocek deprived Alessio of that precious milestone by executing his trademark gameplan: Secure the takedown, control and inflict punishment from the top position, and take the back.
Alessio (34-15) had his moments in rounds two and three, clearly the aggressor in the striking realm and landing the more effective strikes (even snapping back Bocek’s head a few times with 1-2’s). But every time Alessio would get going, Bocek (11-4) would capitalize on that aggression with takedowns and ground and pound that undoubtedly swayed the complexion of the judges’ scoring.
It should be noted that Alessio, who had won 10 of 11 coming in, had accepted the lightweight bout on short notice due to an injury suffered by Matt Wiman. Judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Bocek. Watch Bocek's post-fight interview
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