Rory MacDonald continues his march towards a title shot as he faces #10 ranked UFC welterweight Tarec Saffiedine at the main event of UFC Fight Night 54 at Halifax Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 4th.
The event will be the UFC’s first ever Halifax and marks the UFC’s return to Canada since UFC 174 which as fought in Vancouver, Canada. UFC 178 was also initially planned to be in Toronto, but the promotion decided to move it to Las Vegas, Nevada. Canadian sensation Rory MacDonald will also be headlining a UFC fight card for the first time in his UFC career.
The UFC is also holding a second event on October 4th, as UFC Fight Night 53 will air earlier in the day from the Ericcson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden with Swedish welterweight contender Nico Musoke fighting Amir Sadollah in the main event.
Within Striking Distance
The 25 year old MacDonald ( 17-2 with 6 knockouts and 6 submissions) is coming off a very impressive three round domination of Tyrone Woodley at UFC 174 last June. Prior to that, MacDonald fought and defeated Brazilian Jiu Jitu specialist Demian Maia at UFC 170 in a thrilling bout that won Fight of the Night honors. The UFC’s #2 ranked welterweight fought Robbie Lawler last November 2013 in what would later become a title eliminator for the belt that was relinquished by Georges St. Pierre after UFC 167. Lawler went on to face Johny Hendricks for the vacant title at UFC 171.
While MacDonald regrets that it could have been him against Hendricks at UFC 171 , he knows that he is within striking distance of the title right now. The GSP protégé has won seven of his last eight matches and a win over Saffiedine will almost surely guarantee him the next shot after Lawler who will be challenging Hendricks once again in early 2015.
Sponge the Spoiler
Playing the spoiler’s role will be the UFC’s #10 ranked welterweight Tarec” The Sponge” Saffiedine( 15-3 with 1 knockout and 5 submissions.. The 27 year old Brussels native won his much awaited UFC debut against Hyu Gyun Lim at the UFC’s first event of 2014 in Singapore.
Saffiedine became the last Strikeforce Welterweight champion when he upset Nate Marquardt in the promotion’s finale event in January 2013. The Team Quest fighter is on a five bout winning streak, including his last four bouts at Strikeforce. His last loss was to Tyrone Woodley in 2011.