The second fight on November’s huge UFC 167 card has been announced and, like the main event, a Canadian fighter is the star attraction. Al Dannity says Rory MacDonald has to do more than just win against Robbie Lawler.
Any card with Georges St. Pierre on it promises to be big for all UFC fans, especially those north of the border. Now Canadian fans have a second reason to shell out for UFC 167 on November 16 as Rory MacDonald, the #3 ranked welterweight, goes up against Robbie Lawler. This is a big fight for MacDonald as victory could put him into title contention. Winning however won’t be enough. MacDonald’s last fight, a points victory over Jake Ellenberger, bored Dana White. The last thing any UFC fighter wants to do is leave their boss longing for more entertainment. It may not be fair but when it comes to match-making, White places a priority on action. MacDonald must display more aggression when he takes his veteran opponent in November.
For Robbie Lawler this is a chance to prove his comeback is for real. After recording back-to-back wins since returning to the UFC, Lawler can build up some serious momentum with a win over MacDonald. Unlike the Canadian, Lawler need not fear displeasing Dana. Lawler’s TKO of Josh Kosheck in February earned him knockout of the night honours and he followed that up with a devastating second round KO of Bobby Voelker. Those two wins followed a mixed spell in Strikeforce and no fighter has seen his stock rise as much as the American’s since the merger. Maintaining that momentum will be the challenge for Lawler, who can cement his Top 10 ranking with an upset of MacDonald.
The Canadian is capable of delivering a good show if he wishes. Having nearly gone the distance with Carlos Condit in his second UFC fight, a bout which earned Fight of the Night honours, MacDonald followed this up with big time displays to KO Mike Pyle and Che Mills. As the quality of competition has increased, MacDonald’s style has become more technical. On a competitive level this is to be admired. In terms of moving up the ladder and wearing the strap, that’s another matter entirely. Unanimous decisions over B.J. Penn and Ellenberger look great on the resume but White wants fighters who can win over the crowd. That’s the challenge facing MacDonald this November. If he can provide a dose of excitement, he might earn a shot at GSP. Both the champion and MacDonald have said they will never fight each other but such statements have rarely mattered for much in the UFC. Of course, Johny Hendricks might ensure there’s no such dilemma.