Stylistically, the five-round main event of Bellator 220 may not be the most exciting fight in the world – but who cares if there is money to be made? Rory MacDonald takes on Jon Fitch in a welterweight showdown and here are my thoughts on the fight from a betting perspective.
At 41-years-of-age, I don’t think we’re likely to see any late evolutions in Jon Fitch’s game. A grinding wrestler with a suffocating top game, Fitch doesn’t always get the crowds excited when he performs – but he has a solid style for winning MMA fights (against a certain level of competition, at least).
Shutting down the striking offense of Paul Daley was impressive, but Daley has never been great at dealing with a grapple-heavy attack. In an earlier fight for PFL against Bryan Foster, Fitch was lucky his opponent initiated grappling exchanges (as well as attempting guillotines and triangles). Foster was dominating the striking, and a sprawl and brawl strategy probably would have resulted in a victory for him.
On the feet, Fitch has never been the smoothest. While he uses striking to set up his takedowns, I think he’s going to get lit up if he’s forced to contend at distance with the Canadian savage..
It’s worth remembering Rory MacDonald never started training MMA after a background in another discipline like kickboxing or jiu-jitsu. This guy has been committed to MMA since day one and it’s a big reason why he’s so well-rounded. Although he’s taken a lot of damage in his career, he’s still in his athletic prime at 29-years-of-age.
Like a lot of Tri-Star fighters, MacDonald has a fantastic jab and is extremely fluid on the feet. While not a credentialed wrestler like his opponent, Macdonald is a high level MMA grappler and will be comfortable wherever the fight takes place.
While he looked underwhelming in his last bout against Gegard Mousasi, it’s important to emphasize MacDonald was moving up a weight class against one of the best middleweights in the world. I don’t think that fight tells us anything in regards to this weekend’s contest. I absolutely think MacDonald can have success grappling with Fitch, but why would he want to? The path of least resistance would be to stuff takedowns, create separation and capitalize on his striking superiority at range. MacDonald is more than capable of executing this type of game plan.
I love betting underdogs just like the next man, but I simply cannot recommend a bet on Jon Fitch – even at the tempting odds of +325. The type of fighters who give MacDonald problems are elite strikers, not grinding wrestlers. I think MacDonald has the perfect skill set for shutting down Fitch’s wrestling offense and smashing him on the feet. If you’re looking for a parlay leg for one of your KSW or UFC plays this weekend, Rory MacDonald might be a good choice.
Pick: Rory MacDonald -357