• UFC 133

Rory MacDonald heading for St-Pierre-like stardom

ESPN staff
August 7, 2011

Rory MacDonald made a huge statement at UFC 133, stopping the wily Mike Pyle inside the first round to give momentum to the debate: Is Canada about to produce yet another UFC welterweight champion?

MacDonald, at only 22 years of age, produced a performance so good on Saturday night that UFC co-commentator Joe Rogan made the very bold statement that MacDonald has "even more potential" than Georges St-Pierre.

Certainly there are arguments to prove the theory. MacDonald has now had four UFC fights by the age of 22; when St-Pierre turned 23 he had fought in MMA's premier promotion just once. MacDonald has heavier hands, as shown in his TKO stoppage of Pyle, and seemingly has a greater variety of tools at his disposal.

The youngster is now even training with St-Pierre, throwing up the question as to whether they would ever fight. GSP is constantly linked to Anderson Silva, so maybe his leap to middleweight will coincide with a new era of dominance for MacDonald at 170lbs.

Pyle, whose loses out to few on experience, was made to look very ordinary. When he threw a kick, MacDonald caught it and tripped his rival. When Pyle got into close-quarters, he found himself fighting off an attempted reverse guillotine choke.

However, it was on the mat where MacDonald was most impressive. Like a young St-Pierre - who used to always chase the finish, MacDonald spotted an opening and exploited it in clinical fashion. Sitting in Pyle's usually-dangerous guard, MacDonald slammed bombs into the head of the veteran, forcing the stoppage at 3.54 in the first round.

Elsewhere on an action-packed night, Brian Ebersole enhanced his credentials with a first-round stoppage of the heavily-fancied Dennis Hallman. With no Submission of the Night award (due to no submission victories), Dana White handed Ebersole the cheque for "getting those horrible shorts off of TV". Hallman wore speedos.

Costantinos Phillippou took the opportunity afforded to him by Alessio Sakara's withdrawal as he decisioned Jorge Rivera, while Alexander Gustafsson put Matt Hamill's career in jeopardy by inflicting a second-round TKO stoppage.

Chad Mendes was the other significant winner of the night, easing past Rani Yahya to stay in the hunt for a featherweight title shot.

UFC 133 results:
Rashad Evans bt Tito Ortiz via TKO (strikes) 4:48 of round 2
Vitor Belfort bt Yoshihiro Akiyama via KO (punches) 1:54 of round 1
Brian Ebersole bt Dennis Hallman via TKO (strikes) 4:28 of round 1
Costantinos Philippou bt Jorge Rivera via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Rory MacDonald bt Mike Pyle via TKO (strikes) 3:54 of round 1
Alexander Gustafsson bt Matt Hamill via TKO (strikes) 3:34 of round 2
Chad Mendes bt Rani Yahya via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ivan Menjivar bt Nick Pace via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Johny Hendricks bt Mike Pierce via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Brown bt Nam Phan via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Rafael Natal bt Paul Bradley via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

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