The UFC returns to Canada this Saturday, with a matchup between two of the top welterweights on the planet.
Rory MacDonald and Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson will clash in the main event with title implications.
Also in the co-main event, another intriguing welterweight bout between Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone and Canada's own Patrick Cote. There is also British interest in the card, with Scotland's Joanne Calderwood in action.
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Rory MacDonald vs Stephen Thompson
Rory MacDonald has been out of action for nearly a year, after his war with Robbie Lawler for the UFC Welterwight title at UFC 189.
The Canadian is still only 27, so we could certainly see an improved MacDonald on the night. The question will be, how has he recovered from the fight with Lawler. It truly was one of the most gruesome fights in recent memory and MacDonald lost via TKO in the fifth round.
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He took extreme punishment in that fight, and whether he can take that sort of damage this time round is the big question.
He is facing one of the best stand up fighters in UFC history. Stephen Thompson arrived in the UFC with one of the best résumés in kickboxing and was undefeated with an incredible record of 57-0.
In his first bout inside the Octagon, he knocked out Dan Stittgen with a head kick. Perhaps the UFC propelled him into the elite too quickly, as he next faced Matt Brown, one of the most dangerous and most experienced welterweight's out there. Brown ground Thompson down over three rounds, and won a unanimous decision.
Many thought Thompson would be unable to show his true stand up skills, as the threat of being taken down loomed large. But since the Brown fight, he is unbeaten. His last two fights have seen a remarkable improvement.
He stopped top contender Jake Ellenberger in the first round with a head kick, the day after MacDonald's defeat to Lawler.
He then dismantled former UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. This was believed to be Thompson's nightmare matchup. Hendricks was a former NCAA wrestling champion, who was able to take down Georges St-Pierre when those two met.
It was clear, though, that Thompson was on another level, Hendricks managed to get Thompson to the ground initially, but was unable to keep him there.
Once Thompson rose to his feet he caught Hendricks with numerous right hands, followed by a kick to head that stunned the former champion. He was able to finish the fight in the first round via TKO.
Prediction- Thompson via TKO.
Donald Cerrone vs Patrick Cote
In the co-main event, we have another welterweight clash, as Donald Cerrone is looking to make it two wins from two since moving up from lightweight.
Cerrone challenged for the Lightweight belt last December, but suffered a loss to Rafael Dos Anjos. Since there was no chance of a title shot in the near future, he decided to move up in weight. He faced Alex Oliveira, and won via submission in the first round.
His next challenge will be Canada's Patrick Cote, who is riding an impressive three-fight winning streak. His latest victory came over Ben Saunders in January, Cote is best known for fighting Anderson Silva for the middleweight title back at UFC 90.
While a victory over Cerrone would unlikely hand him a title shot in a stacked welterweight division, it would certainly be a move in the right direction.
Prediction- Cote by decision.
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