Rory MacDonald captured the Bellator MMA welterweight title on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California, as he snapped the three-fight winning streak of Douglas Lima via unanimous decision in the co-main event of Bellator 192.
However, the Canadian really had to push through the pain barrier to get his hands on the gold.
The five-rounder was a gory scrap and there was plenty of bloodshed, with MacDonald suffering what appeared to be a broken nose and Lima sustaining a cut around his eye. But it was a leg injury that MacDonald suffered as a result of Lima’s persistent low-kicks that was most grotesque.
Lima utilized leg kicks early and often, but MacDonald’s jab, superior clinch work, takedowns and smothering top game secured him the first two rounds. In the third, however, Lima’s low attack paid dividends, as he swept MacDonald off his feet with a powerful outside leg kick that drew a pained reaction from the ‘Red King’.
— Jonnyboy (@JBNeverDies) January 21, 2018
MacDonald’s shin swelled rapidly and soon it looked pretty darn gross. “I think I have a person growing inside me,” MacDonald would later joke in his post-fight interview.
— JASON EDGE (@Doubt_Evrything) January 21, 2018
— carlos bz (@carlosbaiz15) January 21, 2018
Bruh. That shin. pic.twitter.com/AYVvObxUpZ
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) January 21, 2018
Somehow, a hobbled MacDonald was able to see out the fight, as he clinched and initiated grappling exchanges any way that he could in an effort to avoid lengthy periods of striking or even standing. Unfathomably, he even managed to dominate the final stanza, scoring an early takedown and force-feeding Lima forearm, elbow and fist.
In the end, all three judges scored the fight in MacDonald’s favour, handing in scores of 48-47, 49-45 and 49-46.
MacDonald, who left the UFC to join Bellator in 2016 and has now won two straight in the promotion, had to be carried from the cage and was subsequently transported to hospital. With his championship belt in tow, however, the 28-year-old veteran was in good spirits and posted the following message to social media.
“This is truly a dream come true, I set out on this martial arts journey when I was 14yrs old and without any doubt I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the grace of Jesus Christ. He humbled me to be ready to receive this belt. I give all the glory for this moment to Him, for my beautiful family, my friends and supporters.”
This is truly a dream come true, I set out on this martial arts journey when I was 14yrs old and without any doubt I know I wouldnt be here if it wasnt for the grace of Jesus Christ. He humbled me to be ready to receive this belt. I give all the glory for this moment to Him, for my beautiful family, my friends and supporters.
Update: MacDonald has since taken to Twitter and revealed that his leg is not broken.
UPDATE on my leg- not broken, just big hematoma. it hurts but it will fade
— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) January 21, 2018