Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 9 co-main event fight between Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald was billed as the old guard vs. the new guard, and appropriately so. Faber has been there done that, and is 34 years old. McDonald, on the other end of the spectrum, is knocking on the door of his 23rd year.
But there was no changing of the guard at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., Faber’s hometown.
Faber was aggressive from the opening bell, immediately going for a head kick. McDonald blocked the kick, but Faber used it as his entry to score a takedown.
McDonald was trying to work his legs into position for a triangle choke, but Faber fended off those attempts, all the while attacking with his methodical ground and pound attack.
When the fight slowed and was returned to the feet, Faber kept attacking with punches, diving through McDonald’s attempts, landing a couple solid punches, but doing no significant damage before the horn.
Faber started the second round just as aggressively, driving into McDonald with his punches, landing an overhand right early in the frame, staggering the youngster. The California Kid was unable to capitalize and McDonald recovered… to a degree.
Faber kept after him, eventually unleashing another right hand that sent McDonald reeling once again. This time, however, the Team Alpha Male leader landed another right hand that sent McDonald to the mat, followed with a guillotine choke, and cinched it tighter and tighter until there was no choice but to tap out or pass out.
McDonald opted for the tap at the 3:22 mark of round two.
McDonald, at just 22 years of age, has plenty of time to recoup from this setback and return to being a contender. Having challenged once for the interim belt already in his young career, it's likely that we'll see him in the title picture again.
Barão is set to unify his belt with that of returning champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 169 on Feb. 1. Faber now looks to be the frontrunner to challenge the winner of that unification bout.
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