Round 1: McDonald and Cariaso start out with both fighters being patient. McDonald throws a nice right hand that shakes his opponent, but Cariaso recovers. The two clinch against the cage for a bit before separating and Cariaso lands a nice right lowkick. Another couple of lowkicks by Cariaso make their way to their target and McDonald throws a combo with a right headkick that barely misses its mark. Cariaso throws another lowkick and McDonald counters with a punch that puts Cariaso down. McDonald goes on the offensive and works from guard. He gets in some shots before the two stand up. Cariaso tries some combinations and tries a headkick that leads to him getting taken down just before the end of the round.
Round 2: Cariaso throws a lowkick to open the round and McDonald tries to counter but doesn’t land. A few scrambles occur, but little damage is caused by either fighter. Nice bodykick by Cariaso at about three minutes to go. An attempted lowkick by Cariaso lands on McDonald’s groin and the ref calls time, allowing him to recover. The fight continues and a lot of patients is displayed by both fighters. Cariaso throws some combos that don’t land, and later, McDonald gets the strong takedown to mount his opponent. Round ends just after that point.
Round 3: Final round begins with the two fighters trading legkicks. Cariaso throwing combos going forward, but not landing much. A McDonald legkick is caught by Cariaso which leads to a takedown for him. Working from halfguard, Cariaso does what he can to advance in position, but McDonald gets him back to fullguard. Halfway through the final round and Cariaso gets back to his feet, followed by McDonald. After a short return to the ground, the fighters return to their feet for the final minute of the fight. A few highkicks by Cariaso miss and the fight ends just after McDonald throws a headkick that just misses.
Official call: Michael McDonald defeats Chris Cariaso via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)