Bellator brought the cage to London, but it was a Canadian who felt right at home.
Promotional newcomer and prized free-agent acquisition Rory MacDonald showed why he’s long been considered one of the best welterweights in the world, dominating England’s Paul Daley at the SSE Arena.
McDonald threw an overhand right to get started, but immediately shot for a single leg takedown. Once he got it, he put Daley into trouble for the balance of the round. In the second, MacDonald did the same thing, and advanced to side control right away. He was able to get Daley’s back, and sink a rear-naked choke.
The official time of the stoppage was 1:45 of the second round.
“It’s been a long time of lay-offs, man, it’s been a long two years to be honest,” he said in the post-fight interview. “It took a lot to stay focused, stay on track, to focus in on what I was lacking in every department of my life. And I made sure to check off all those wrongs I was doing, and it showed in the fight.
“Paul is one of the best guys that I’ve ever fought. I had to be on point and at my best, and tonight I was at my best.”
The victory ended a two-fight losing streak for MacDonald, who last competed against Stephen Thompson last June (decision loss). He also had a message for the winner of the Bellator 180 clash between Bellator champion Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin.
“I guarantee I will take that belt from you, and I will take your health,” MacDonald said.
For Daley, it was only his second loss in his last eight fights. He made it clear he wanted to fight Michael Page next, and blasted him in his post-fight interview.
“Michael Page is a p*ssy. I got some sh*t on him, but I’m not about to put it out in public. If that p*ssy wants to get in the cage next time here at Wembley, we can do it. The little p*ssy keeps getting injured, like this and like that. P*ssy,” Daley said.
The two had a scuffle as he made his way back to the dressing room after the fight.
In the co-main event, a battle between England’s Liam McGeary and Linton Vassell started with a bang, but ended up being a one-sided affair. Bellator’s former light heavyweight champion was ultimately overmatched by Vassell, who used his grappling to dominate the second round after a fairly close first. McGeary succumbed to a third-round submission (head and arm triangle at 2:28).
For Vassell it was his third win in a row.
“I just beat the former world champion,” he said afterwards. “Ryan Bader, where you at? This is U.K. wrestling.”
The 41-year-old French heavyweight Cheick Kongo made it five victories in a row, scoring a toilsome split decision victory over Augusto Sakai. Congo used a strong clinch game to control the action — at times to the displeasure of the London crowd — and two of the three judges saw it in his favor (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The end came at 3:40 of the first round.
Ferguson is now 1-1 in his professional career after losing his debut against Aaron Hamilton in November.