UFC on FOX 8: July 27, 2013 Seattle, Washington UFC Welterweight Contender Rory MacDonald (-170) Profile: A man who many consider the future of MMA, Rory MacDonald (14-1) is just 23 years of age, with his only loss coming against former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit in what was a fairly competitive bout until the end. MacDonald has won four straight since then and trains out of the Tristar gym in Canada (home of his mentor, UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre). He is currently as close as you can get to the top of the division without actually being the champ. The lanky Canadian is a deadly finisher, has ground-and-pound as lethal as MMA fans have ever seen and seems to be growing hungrier for a title shot with every fight. Anyone who faces MacDonald at this point will have a difficult time, whether it be on the ground with his wrestling or due to his physicality and distance closing clinches, where he can rag doll just about anyone he gets a hold of. UFC Welterweight Contender Jake Ellenberger (+130) Profile: Jake Ellenberger (29-6) made his way toward the top of the UFC welterweight title contenders thanks to an impressive six-fight winning streak that included four victories via TKO/KO over Jake Shields, Sean Pierson, John Howard and Mike Pyle. Unfortunately, the 28-year-old from Omaha saw his winning streak come to an end with a stunning knockout loss to Martin Kampmann, who advanced to what was originally viewed as a title eliminator bout against top contender Johny Hendricks. The loss was a bit of a surprise considering Ellenberger looked like he was about to finish Kampmann before the tables were turned on him. Ellenberger has since rebounded nicely with a unanimous decision win against Jay Hieron and a knockout of Nate Marquardt to improve to 8-2 in the UFC, with the only other loss coming against Carlos Condit in his organizational debut.
Opening UFC on FOX 8 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made MacDonald a small -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) while Ellenberger opened as a +130 underdog (bet $100 to win $130) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. If top contender Johny Hendricks was not already waiting in the wings for a shot at St-Pierre’s championship belt, this matchup could be billed as a title eliminator bout. UFC president Dana White recently confirmed GSP will not go the superfight route and instead face Hendricks next. But the winner between MacDonald and Ellenberger is worthy of being in the conversation for the next title shot and may eventually get that opportunity. MacDonald seems to be the future of the welterweight division but has gone on record as saying he would not fight his mentor St-Pierre. That makes for an intriguing bout to see who really wants to jump into the on-deck circle behind Hendricks. MacDonald is a much bigger fighter, standing three inches taller with a reach advantage of nearly four inches. But Ellenberger is much more experienced and believes now is his time since he appears to be in his prime. Both will be facing a serious step up in competition here, so training could end up being the difference.