A showdown between the Top 2 welterweight contenders has been booked by the UFC. Per reports, Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson will butt heads at UFC Fight Night 89.
#1 vs. #2
As announced by UFC President Dana White on Friday, #1 ranked welterweight Rory MacDonald will square off against the 2nd ranked 170 pound fighter in the UFC’s roster, Stepehn Thompson at UFC Fight Night 89 on June 18th in Ottawa. White made the announcement during the press conference of “Unstoppable” where he enumerated the promotion’s list of events for spring and summer. The venue for UFC Fight Night 89, which will be shown via FS 1 and streamed over UFC Fight Pass, as well as the full fight card have yet to be determined.
Protege Versus Sparring Partner
MacDonald is coming off a July 2015 5th round TKO loss to current UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, in a back and forth fight that MacDonald was winning until he suffered a broken nose in the final round that led to the stoppage. The Montreal based striker is 18-3 in the UFC and was considered as the protege of former champion Georges St. Pierre.
Thompson meanwhile, is coming off the biggest win of his career. The Wonder Boy stopped former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in the first round during their encounter at UFC Fight Night 82 last month. The victory was Thompson’s sixth consecutive win since losing to Matt Brown. It brought him up to #2 in the rankings and set up this likely #1 contender’s match-up What makes this match-up interesting is that Thompson was a former sparring partner of GSP.
The Next Title Shot
While the speculation is that Conor McGregor will be gunning for Lawler’s 170-pound title at UFC 200, the winner of this bout should get the next crack at the Ruthless One simply because these are two legit welterweights who are number 1 and 2 in the 170-pound rankings. MacDonald has been knocking at that 170-pound title and has been turned down by Lawler twice- the first in a #1 contender match-up at UFC 167 and the second one at UFC 189 last July. Those two are MacDonald’s only losses since 2010.
Thompson asked for a title shot after stopping Hendricks last month. His ranking zoomed up to #2 after that career-defining victory. Thompson’s karate-based striking should pose all sorts of trouble for MadDonald but MacDonald has the experience advantage going for him.