Prior to the UFC 145 co-main event, Che Mills’ nickname was “beautiful".
Rory MacDonald changed all that.
The B.C. welterweight punished the British striker with brutal ground-and-pound en route to a dominant TKO victory in Atlanta Saturday.
“He didn’t get much respect in the media because of his lack of fights in the UFC,” MacDonald said. “I trained hard for this as with all my fights. I’m happy with how it went.”
MacDonald, who trains with Georges St. Pierre, ate some heavy leather early, but once he secured the takedown, he went to town with elbows and punches. Mills showed a ton of heart but just couldn’t get away from his relentless opponent.
“I could tell I was landing big shots,” MacDonald said. “When I hit guys on the ground and they’re clean, I know I’m going to hurt them.”
Despite all the praise and hype he’s received, MacDonald admits he has a long way to go before he can win the title.
“I want to be champion one day, but I’m still very young,” MacDonald stated. “One thing I lack in the top of this division is experience. I need more fights, to stay regular and fight three times a year.”
The bout marked MacDonald’s first in eight months. His last outing saw him secure a TKO victory over Mike Pyle at UFC 133.
Ben Rothwell scored one of the wildest comebacks of the year.
After getting tagged with a spinning back-elbow courtesy of Brendan Schaub, Rothwell looked to be moments away from getting knocked out. But as Schaub swarmed with punches, Rothwell flattened the TUF 10 finalist with a left uppercut.
Rothwell pounced with strikes, causing referee Herb Dean to call off the bout.
“I feel great,” Rothwell said. “You can take a look at me and it speaks for itself. I changed up my camp and trained really hard.”
Bantamweight prospect Michael McDonald earned the biggest win of his career, knocking out Miguel Torres in the first round.
“I feel great,” McDonald said. “I can finally eat some pizza and ice cream. I can party tonight—not with alcohol, but sweets.”
After wobbling the former WEC champion with a hard uppercut, McDonald followed up a jab with yet another uppercut that put Torres’ lights out.
“I was paying attention to his range and making sure he didn’t get his jab off,” McDonald said of the finish. “I was trying to get inside and use my power and accuracy.
“It was pretty much all instinct.”
Mark Hominick has now lost three fights in a row.
The Thamesford, Ont., featherweight lost a bloody brawl with Eddie Yagin.
Despite having a reach disadvantage, Yagin had little trouble tagging Hominick with big shots. The Filipino-American went up on the scorecard after dropping Hominick in each of the first two rounds.
Hominick took control in the third, battering Yagin with body shots and straight punches. But it wasn’t enough to steal the bout, as the judges awarded Yagin a split decision with scores of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Mark Bocek won a one-sided unanimous decision over John Alessio in a battle of Canadian scrappers.
Alessio gave Bocek problems in the stand-up exchanges, but struggled with the Toronto native’s takedowns. Bocek dominated the bout once it hit the mat, delivering a series of short punches and securing both side- and back-control.
The fight marked Alessio’s first in the UFC since May 27, 2006, when the Vancouver lightweight dropped a unanimous decision to Diego Sanchez.
Travis Browne made quick work of Chad Griggs, submitting the Strikeforce veteran with an arm-triangle choke in the final preliminary bout.
John Makdessi suffered his second loss in a row, dropping a unanimous decision to Anthony Njokuani.
Mac Danzig snagged a unanimous decision over Efrain Escudero in a grinding clinch-fest.
Chatham, Ont., welterweight Chris Clements battered Keith Wisniewski en route to a split-decision victory in his UFC debut.
TUF 14 cast member Marcus Brimage won a debatable split decision over Maximo Blanco in the opening bout.
FULL UFC 145 PRELIM RESULTS
Travis Browne def. Chad Griggs via first-round submissions (arm-triangle choke)
Matt Brown def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 30-27)
Anthony Njokuani def. John Makdessi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mac Danzig def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Chris Clements def. Keith Wisniewski via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Marcus Brimage def. Maximo Blanco via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
OVEREEM OUT OF UFC 146
The UFC isn’t waiting for Alistair Overeem to appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
UFC president Dana White revealed via Twitter that Overeem is out of the UFC 146 main event against heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Instead, former titleholder Frank Mir will challenge for the strap May 26 in Las Vegas.
Overeem failed a random pre-fight drug test while attending a press conference in Vegas last month. The former Stirkeforce heavyweight champion’s “A” sample revealed an elevated level of testosterone with a T/E ratio of 14:1. The NSAC limit is 6:1, while the World Anti-Doping Agency’s is 4:1. The average male has a ratio of 1:1.
Though Overeem didn’t request his “B” sample be tested, he still applied for a fighter’s licence for the dos Santos bout. He is set to appear before the NSAC on April 24.
Mir is currently riding a three-fight win streak. His last outing saw him snap Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira’s arm with a kimura at UFC 140 in December.