Rory MacDonald vs. Nate Diaz: Round 1
The southpaw Diaz assumes his rangy, pawing stance as MacDonald flicks slapping kicks to the head and body. After a minute of tentative exchanging, Diaz holds his arms out in the typical style and implores the Candian to come forward. MacDonald lands a nice one-two as Diaz comes in to tie up. He shoves MacDonald’s back into the cage and throws a few hands to the gut. MacDonald gets an underhook and reverses, then goes low for a takedown. Diaz defends, but MacDonald tries to pull him into guard. Nothing doing and the welterweights go back to the feet. MacDonald with a Superman punch, a left jab, then just misses with a head kick. Diaz keeps coming forward and MacDonald begins finding success with counter-punches. They clinch up again with neither getting the upperhand, and MacDonald exits with a knee at the 70 second mark. Diaz ducks a MacDonald left and goes for a single. The Stockton, Calif., native can’t execute and changes to a double as MacDonald puts his back to the fence. Knee to the body from Diaz is answered by a right hand from MacDonald. The horn sounds and ref John McCarthy steps between the fighters as Diaz keeps jawing.
More clinching early. They split and Diaz catches a front kick from MacDonald, lets it go, and taunts his Canadian opponent. MacDonald bullies Diaz against the cage and tries to trip him down as Diaz punches to the body and head. MacDonald succeeds with the trip, but Diaz quickly gets back to his feet. Now, MacDonald slams Diaz to the mat in the center of the cage. MacDonald stands and dodges upkicks, then socks Diaz with a nice right hand as Diaz stands. Diaz still coming forward, trying to find his range, and he puts a straight left on MacDonald’s cheek. Another clinch and MacDonald snaps Diaz’s head back with an uppercut. Face reddened, Diaz resists a MacDonald single-leg and takes the power position in the clinch. Diaz shrugs his right shoulder into MacDonald’s jaw and trips him down, but MacDonald just stands back up. Diaz pushes forward with a slapping one-two. MacDonald leaps in with a flying knee and then tries a single-leg, but abandons it when Diaz looks for a standing kimura. MacDonald snaps off another one-two-leg kick combo before the horn.
MacDonald just misses on a right high kick. Diaz continues coming forward, whereupon he’s clinched into the cage by “The Waterboy.” Diaz tries to pick the ankle of MacDonald and instead eats a hard punch from his knees. MacDonald hops onto Diaz’s back and twice ragdolls him to the floor with huge power. Big punches from MacDonald on top before he backs out. Diaz still on the mat, MacDonald comes back in with more shots, then suplexes Diaz once again for good measure. Two minutes to go and MacDonald stuffs a trip attempt from Diaz as they clinch against the fence. Diaz’s single-leg is sprawled on and MacDonald connects with more punches, elbows. MacDonald winds up on top with a minute to go. He stands and dodges upkicks in the last minute before the horn sounds on what should be a unanimous decision for the Canadian prospect.
Official scores: The scores are 30-27 and 30-26 (twice) in favor of Rory MacDonald, who takes a unanimous decision before a raucous Rogers Centre crowd.