UFC 174 Play: Rory MacDonald (-110) vs Tyron Woodley (-110)

Rory MacDonaldUFC 174 Date: June 14, 2014 Arena: Rogers Arena City: Vancouver, B.C., Canada Welterweight bout: Rory MacDonald (-110) vs Tyron Woodley (-110) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC 174 on Pay Per View will be a welterweight showdown between a pair of 170-pounders who are on a hunt for the division’s gold. One man will move one step closer towards a title shot when TriStar’s Rory MacDonald faces off against American Top Team’s Tyron Woodley. The betting odds for this bout are at a coin flip, with MacDonald currently being -110 ($110 to win $100) and Woodley being (-110) as well at Several Bookmakerss. Rory “Ares” MacDonald (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) bounced back into the win column recently with a unanimous decision victory over fellow welterweight contender Demian Maia, in what was a true test of heart and will for the young Canadian. After being dominated on the mat by Maia in the first round of action, MacDonald kept the fight on the feet in the second and outpointed the Brazilian. In the third frame, Maia was again successful in taking the fight to the mat, and that’s where we saw a great display of heart from MacDonald, as he struggled and managed to find a way to get back to his feet, where he spent the rest of the round defending takedowns and outstriking the former middleweight title challenger en route to a earning a unanimous nod from the judges. He now looks to make it two in a row against Woodley, knowing a win will be putting him in a number one-contendership bout for his next Octagon outing. “Ares” is a very well-rounded Mixed Martial Artist who at 24 years of age is getting better every day. He is a gym-junkie and is addicted to making improvements on a daily basis. MacDonald is a fast learner who excels in every aspect of the sport. He is a solid grappler who works decent takedowns and has a very vicious ground and pound attack; arguably the worst in the division, as was evident in his UFC 145 co-main event bout against Che Mills. The TriStar product is a talented striker who likes to be technical on the feet. He works a beautiful jab, and all of his punches are very crisp. MacDonald will have a two and a half inch reach advantage over Woodley heading into this welterweight tilt, so I expect the jab to be his main weapon of choice on the feet. The Canadian is best when he is being the aggressor, and can have problems when he is moving backwards. He is great at both scoring points and doing damage, and he also does a fantastic job of incorporating kicks into his offensive striking attack. Since his loss to Carlos Condit in his second Octagon appearance, MacDonald has really focused on improving his cardio, and has not really had a problem in that department ever since. I believe he will be able to go a full three rounds without breaking a sweat, even considering the fact that he did not have any time off between his last fight and this one. Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley (13-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) had a great run in Strikeforce, going 8-1 in the promotion with his lone defeat coming in a title fight against now-UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt in his last bout with the now-defunct promotion. Woodley’s incredibly impressive eight fight winning streak before the loss included victories over the likes of Paul Daley, Nathan Coy, Andre Galvao, Jordan Mein, and Tarec Saffiedine, respectively. He made his UFC debut nearly a year-and-a-half ago at UFC 156 against Jay Hieron, knocking the veteran out cold only 36 seconds into the very first round of action, and putting the rest of the welterweight division on notice. “T-Wood” is now coming off a second round TKO victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 171 three months ago, which makes it back to back T/KO victories inside the Octagon for the former Strikeforce welterweight title challenger, the first of which came in a back-and-forth brawl against veteran Josh Koscheck in the first round of their UFC 167 bout. He is now 3-1 in his UFC tenure, with the lone blemish in four fights coming against the recently released top welterweight contender Jake Shields at UFC 167 via a controversial split decision. Knowing a win over MacDonald would make him three in a row and earn him a number-one contendership match-up, Woodley will be motivated to deliver the performance of his career against “Ares” on Saturday night. An NCAA Division I wrestler from Missouri University, Woodley is very talented on the mat. He has great takedowns and is explosive with them. He a good double-leg, works a great body-lock, and has a nice inside trip. His defensive grappling is also solid, as he has phenomenal takedown defense and good submission defense. The 32-year old wrestler has evolved into a solid striker, and is very explosive on the feet. He is incredibly powerful and packs serious heat behind every strike. Every punch he throws is powerful, as is every leg kick. Woodley uses his hands well from a distance, given he is not at a reach disadvantage, but he is also great at dirty boxing from close distance. He is very strong inside the clinch, from which position he loves to employ his devastating knees. His conditioning is not the best, but it is very good considering his size, muscle tone, and general body frame. I would have concerns about his cardio if it were a five-round main event, but in a three round co-headliner, I think he will have enough in the tank for a full 15 minutes of action, should the fight go the distance. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think MacDonald is very motivated to win this fight, and that has not always been true with the Canadian. If he shows up mentally ready, which I expect him to, I think the only way he loses this fight is by getting caught with Woodley’s power punches and getting finished; or at least getting hurt badly enough to sway the round(s) in the judges’ favor. That said, I am counting on him to use his high fight IQ and fight a smart fight. One thing worth noting is MacDonald’s under-rated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. I think if these two engage in grappling exchanges, he will have a decent chance at submitting Woodley, who is by no means an easy opponent to submit. Though a Woodley T/KO and MacDonald submission are, in my opinion, realistic outcomes to this match-up, I feel these two will make it all the way to the judges’ scorecards more often than not. When it’s all said and done, I see the referee raising MacDonald’s hand as Bruce Buffer announces his name. I expect either a decision or a surprise submission, but I think the hometown kid will come through for the Canadian crowd. That said, even if MacDonald does deserve the decision, I would not be surprised to see it go the other way, even if they are in his hometown. Such outcomes have happened before, such as Lyoto Machida dropped a split decision to Phil Davis in Brazil, and Takeya Mizugasi lost a unanimous decision to now-flyweight Chris Cariaso, in a fight I thought Mizugaki clearly won all three rounds of. I usually feel more confident with the hometown favorite, but I feel like this is a fight where something like that could happen. That is the only reason I don’t reason I don’t love getting MacDonald at -120, even though I think he wins this fight. While I don’t see much value there, I do see value in props for MacDonald, so look for my props article, which will be posted soon here on MMA OddsBreaker. Gabe’s Call: MacDonald by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: MacDonald/Woodley Over 2.5 rounds (-215) parlayed with Mike Easton (-210) for +116 2.8u to win 3.25u

Written by Gabe Killian

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