Fighting for the first time in 16 months due to a serious eye injury, Belcher showed little ring rust by forcing MacDonald to verbally submit at three minutes and 48 seconds into the first round.
"I didn't know if I ever was going to fight again and I know tonight this is what I want to do," said Belcher, who seemed a fight away from a title shot before the eye injury. "I want to pursue that belt and I'm back, baby."
Despite carrying a five-inch reach advantage, MacDonald felt his best bet was to take the fight to the ground, pulling guard a minute-and-a-half into the fight. After shrugging off MacDonald's intentions for a submission, Belcher punished MacDonald with left-right punches and right elbows. MacDonald attempted a kimura to stop Belcher's flurry, but it also allowed Belcher to pass to side mount. Belcher tried for a crucifix which allowed MacDonald to escape back to open guard. But Belcher's punches were too effective, as he would pass to knee on stomach and fire away for the finish.
Belcher improved his record to 16-5, while MacDonald dropped to 26-15.