Rory MacDonald made his debut under the Bellator banner last evening as he took on Paul "Semtex" Daley in the main event of #Bellator179.
The two men came into the bout on two very different trajectories. MacDonald was returning following two consecutive defeats and a lengthy layoff due to a nose surgery, while Daley was fighting for the first time following his incredible flying knee knockout of Brennan Ward at #Bellator170.
Despite his recent problems, MacDonald walked to the Bellator cage for the first time with his chest puffed out and his head held high. The crowd were split 75:25 cheers to boos for the Canadian, but as expected, Daley was greeted like hometown legend the minute he stepped out from the back.
"Big" John McCarthy was the third man in the cage as the two fighters respectfully touched gloves to get the fight underway.
Round one began with MacDonald taking the fight to Daley and putting him on his back with a single leg takedown. After a few minutes of struggling, MacDonald worked into half guard and landed some nice elbows, but Daley continued to defend well and MacDonald was forced back into full guard. The Canadian remained active for the rest of the round and landed a nice blow before the bell. It was clearly a 10-9 MacDonald first round.
In round two, MacDonald repeated what he did in the first and countered nicely with a takedown under a wild Daley hook. Unfortunately for Daley, it was the beginning of the end. MacDonald worked well into half guard and then into the full mount. Daley tried to wriggle free, but ended up giving his back and the Canadian needed no second invitation to sink in the rear-naked choke for the tap.
After the fight, the defeated Daley got on the microphone and called out Michael "Venom" Page who was sat cageside. As Daley made his way from the cage, a mini-brawl ensued as Daley was escorted to the back.
Back to the fight, it was vintage MacDonald who will now go on to challenge the winner of Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin for the Bellator welterweight title.
The SSE Wembley Arena was packed to the rafters from the outset and the London crowd was rewarded with no fewer than five finishes in eight fights on the preliminary card.
Stealing the headlines on the undercard, Fabian Edwards scored a highlight reel knockout win over Rafal Cejrowski in the first round of their middleweight fight. Edwards caught Cejrowski with a devastating flying knee to send him stone cold unconscious to the mat. It was a knockout to remember on a night of many memorable moments.