UFC on FOX 8 Faceoff: Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger

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FIGHT!‘s “Alright Guy” Duane Finley goes toe-to-toe with FIGHT!‘s “Canadian Guy” E. Spencer Kyte in a UFC on Fox 8 Faceoff. For this installment, Finley and Kyte take on the co-main event between Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald.

The Case for Rory MacDonald (E. Spencer Kyte)

This has nothing to do with the fact that we’re both Canadians, or that I’ve had the pleasure of tracking MacDonald’s career from his pre-UFC days. Both of those are true, but they have nothing to do with why I’m picking “Ares” in this head-to-head battle against my Indiana-based cohort.

There is just one reason why I’m siding with MacDonald when it comes to his bout with Jake Ellenberger—Mac is the more complete fighter.

All the stuff people tease MacDonald about—the robotic personality, the “Canadian Psycho” nickname, his passion for fashion—is superfluous nonsense that has to be brought up because dealing with reality just isn’t as much fun. The reality is that MacDonald is a tremendous talent who has gotten better and better with each appearance.

And the best is yet to come.

Fans and critics picked at his “showboating” in his bout against BJ Penn because it was a one-sided beating where MacDonald looked phenomenal. There was nothing legitimately worth criticizing, but for whatever reason, giving this kid his due just isn’t something people are up for at this point in his career. Unfortunately for those people, pretty soon they’re not going to have a choice.

I honestly believe this is going to be the fight we look back on a year from now as the night Rory MacDonald broke through to the next level—the night he went from being someone who could one day challenge for the title to a legitimate threat that everyone in the division should avoid like the plague.

Remember the way Jon Jones manhandled Ryan Bader? I think we’ll get something similar here. Up until that point, Bader had actually faced and beaten the better competition. Jones had been the more impressive and dominant of the two, but plenty of people thought the former TUF winner was going to be the guy to test “Bones.”

Boy, were they wrong.

I think MacDonald is a similar type of talent—a mixed martial artist who is going to keep impressing fight fans every step of the way, even if they don’t want to give him the credit he deserves because he isn’t as personable and engaging as they would like.

MacDonald will weather the early onslaught, use his full complement of skills, and deliver the type of performance that forces people to sit up and take notice. Ellenberger is a legitimate Top 5 welterweight, and a fighter I like a great deal, but MacDonald is on a different level.

The Case for Jake Ellenberger (Duane Finely)

There is nothing I love more than throwing Diaz-slaps at my Canadian counterpart, and when the opportunity to jump back into our Faceoff series arose at FIGHT!, I immediately cocked both hands.

Make no mistake about it, Rory MacDonald is a formidable opponent who has the potential to become the future of the welterweight division, but regardless of what the lispy Chip Douglas said in the Cable Guy with “the future being now,” that isn’t the case where the talented young Canadian is concerned.

Jake Ellenberger presents a tremendous amount of problems for MacDonald’s style, and it is the specific troubles his power-based attack brings to the table that will ultimately turn the tables. “The Juggernaut” is a quick starter who throws everything in his arsenal with the worst intentions. When you factor how hittable MacDonald has proven to be in the past with the Omaha native’s ability to melt the opposition with one clean shot, this doesn’t bode well for the Tri-Star product.

Another improved aspect of Ellenberger’s game has been his increased patience in the striking department. The Team Reign product earned somewhat of a stigma for his lack of a gas tank in the early part of his UFC tenure, which was partially due to his mindset of blitzing the opposition from the start.

Conditioning is a weakness Ellenberger has worked diligently to remedy, and the aforementioned patience is one of the keys he’s used to make good on those efforts.

The way I see it, the two surging welterweights will enter a brief feeling-out period before Ellenberge plants a devastating power shot on MacDonald’s chin piece. Ellenberger will swarm to finish the fight and derail MacDonald’s rise for the time being.

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