MacDonald last fought in June 2016, losing to Stephen “Wonderbody” Thompson by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 89. The fight was MacDonald’s last fight on his UFC contract. He decided to test free agency and inked a deal with Bellator MMA in August 2016. He appeared on air at Bellator 160 and announced his intentions to win the Bellator welterweight and middleweight titles. His win over Daley was the first step in accomplishing his championship goals.
MacDonald landed a right hand in the first exchange of the fight and quickly changed levels and took Daley to the ground. He spend the entire opening frame in top position delivering short punches and elbows. MacDonald took Daley down early in the second round and immediately advanced his position to side control. Daley tried to get back to his feet but gave up his back in the process. MacDonald locked on a rear-naked choke and Daley quickly tapped out.
“It’s been a long time of layoffs man. It’s been a long two years to be honest. It took a lot to stay focused, stay on track, focus in on what I was lacking in every department of my life. I made sure that I checked off all those wrongs that I was doing, and it showed in the fight,” said MacDonald after the win.
“Paul is one of the best guys that I’ve fought, and I had to be on point and at my best. Tonight, I was at my best.”
“It’s going to be an amazing fight. I’ll be there watching, and I guarantee you that I will take that belt from you and I’ll take your health,” said MacDonald about eventual winner.
Bellator 179 Full Results:
Rory MacDonald def. Paul Daley by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:45, R2
Linton Vassell def. Liam McGeary by submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:28, R3
Cheick Kongo def. Augusto Sakai by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Alex Lohore def. Dan Edwards by TKO (strikes) at 0:56, R2
Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. DJ Griffin by TKO (strikes) at 3:40, R1
Stav Economou def. Dan Konecke by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:05, R1
Amir Albazi def. Jamie Powell by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
Nathan Jones def. Umer Kayani by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:35, R1
Fabian Edwards def. Rafał Cejrowski by KO (flying knee) at 3:44, R1
Jeremy Petley def. Chase Morton by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Mike Shipman def. Marcin Prostko by TKO (knees) at 2:39, R1
Salih Kulucan def. Diego Barbosa by submission (heel hook) at 2:18, R1
Alfie Davis def. Jay Dods by KO (spinning side kick), R1