Bellator 179 goes down tomorrow, live from London, and since it’s the biggest event of the weekend, I figured I’d break down its main event, #RoryMacDonald vs. #PaulDaley. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great scrap, so of course it was my only choice.
MacDonald lost his last two fights, and both guys he lost to were southpaws in Lawler and Thompson, but he won’t have this problem with Daley since he fights from the orthodox stance. This will be his first fight for #Bellator, with his last fight having been 11 months ago against Stephen Thompson.
Daley hasn’t been stopped in nine years (Nick Diaz being the last one to do it), and since then he’s only lost four times in 16 bouts, all by decision. Nine of his 12 wins came by way of knockout, but that’s what he’s known for—knocking people out.
He needs to be more on the balls of his feet, as it will help him move backwards faster. In his fight against Lawler, he got hit quite a few times with a jab. Being on the balls of his feet will help with that, especially against a guy like Daley, who is super explosive.
He needs to counter the single leg kick attacks from Daley, just take the kick and trade it for a right straight or go for the takedown.
Sometimes he puts both arms horizontally in front of him to close the distance while looking for a clinch, but there is a “sweet spot’ there that allows him to get hit with an uppercut, so he needs to watch out for this because Daley’s coaches watched those fights as well. Even a crazy flying knee from Daley, like he did against Ward, could do the same thing, and that gets him KO’d.
Rory needs to use a lot of feints, make Daley think he’s going to hit him because when he does this, it will reveal the counters Daley is looking to throw.
Daley got dropped early in the fight against Douglas Lima and that was because Daley was waiting for a strike from Lima that he could counter. Then, when he decided to punch, he got countered by Lima. He survived it, but he got rocked bad.
Since Daley wants to hit every single punch with everything he’s got, he is open when he misses, so again, letting Daley attack is the best thing to do. MacDonald should move backwards when that happens, then counter when Daley misses a shot.
Daley likes the cross-left hook combo a lot, or the overhand left hook, then he moves backwards, so let him miss the left hook and counter with a right straight. This is also a good opening for a takedown. Going for takedowns is a very smart thing to do, and I believe that Douglas Lima won his fight against Daley because he executed so many of them.
I would also change my stance a little bit, making it more open because Daley likes to throw right low kicks, but he throws fast ones, and that means that he doesn’t use his hips, which means they are harder to detect, but it also means he is connecting with the flat part of his shin bone, which would be the weaker part of the shin. When MacDonald stands more open and has the toes from his left foot pointing a little bit to the left, it’s going to be very easy for him to check those kicks by simply lifting his leg, if Daley were to connect with the flat part of the shin, that will likely end up being a problem for him.
Daley needs to avoid single kicks, especially his right low kicks, since he likes to throw them with no setup strikes. That’s not a good thing to do against a guy who, when he is smart, takes you to the ground. In his fight against Lima, the Brazilian checked his single kicks, but MacDonald can take them and trade them for a right straight counter or takedown.
He needs to move in and out, especially out after an attack. In his last fight against Brennan Ward, when he threw an overhand, he stayed there and Ward took him down. So he too, like MacDonald, would be even better if he stands on the balls of his feet.
He wants his opponent to attack so he can counter, because he’s a great counter fighter. The problem with that is he will plant his feet, since moving backwards doesn’t give him an opening to counter, and that’s how he got taken down a second time in that fight.
MacDonald likes to throw single kicks, as well, and he’s doing it more to see the reaction from his opponent, so he won’t have real power on those low kicks and that weird front kick he throws as a distraction. I would look to block or even just take those kicks and counter right away. Even when Daley doesn’t connect, it will stop most of MacDonald’s kicks, and if this was a big part of Rory’s game plan, it will go a long way towards nullifying it.
Daley needs to use right low kicks, but should set them up with punches, preferably a single left hook, since many fighters will block the left hook and that will keep them stationary. When you attack with a right-straight-left-hook combo, the opponent tends to move backwards on the straight punches, so then the low kick misses. I am saying this because MacDonald stands a certain way which will make it harder for him to block right low kicks.
"Semtex" needs to tone down his attacks a little bit and shouldn’t overcommit as much, because when he misses a left hook, he is wide open for a counter; maybe a right-straight-left-hook (or overhand) is one of MacDonald’s favorite counters and offensive combos. To play it safe, he can simply add a punch, so make the combo a cross-hook-cross. This way, he wraps up with a cross and isn’t open as much when he misses it
Daley is super explosive and MacDonald has lethal ground skills. If I were MacDonald, I would really try to take this fight to the ground. Like I always say, even when you’re a great striker yourself, when you know you’re better on the ground, take the fight to the ground!
I’m certainly looking forward to this clash, as I’m sure all of you are, as well. Godspeed and party on!
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