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Bellator 179: Paul Daley Looks To Validate Himself With A Win Over Rory MacDonald

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. When the this bout was first announced the initial reaction was that of pure excitement. While the modern day UFC execs want you to believe that there isn’t a possibility of exciting fights outside of the promotion. Paul Daley versus Rory MacDonald is example of just how crazy that thought process truly is. Each of these men bring something to the table to make this an immensely intriguing bout.

The style clash in this match is pretty intriguing. Where Rory MacDonald may have a more well rounded game, Paul Daley is the slugger that can put anyone out with a couple of well placed shots. Daley has always done well playing the aggressive counter striker, specifically when you consider the fact that he has dynamite in his fist. His kicks and knees are also incredibly destructive as many a victim as discovered. His most recent victim Brennan Ward had to learn the hard way that you either create distance and separate from Daley or face the crushing consequences.

Daley has the tools to win this fight, but it’s a matter of staying disciplined throughout. He can’t stay on the center line and expect to do work against MacDonald. Instead, he’s going to have to offer a moving target for the former UFC title challenger as to avoid being taken to the ground. His left hook to the head followed up with another to the body will help to keep MacDonald’s hands at home. A well placed cross or over hand right will also deter the Canadian from throwing out his jab recklessly. Leg kicks should also help, but he’ll need to set things up with either a jab or left hook as standing right in front of MacDonald is simply a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand you have Rory MacDonald who is much more of an all around technician. Rather than come into fights with go to weapons that makes him feared by the opposition, what really makes him such a danger fighter is his ability to game plan, search for weaknesses in his opponent’s game and attack it with calculated precision. MacDonald is the type of fighter that will find out exactly what you want to do, file it away for further study, then exploit that weakness as the bout carries on. Coming from TriStar you can expect nothing less. They tailor their game to their opponents. But you can always expect to see one element that remains constant. The jab.

Rory MacDonald is proficient at throwing the jab and should really am to use it against a striker the caliber of Daley. But rather than just use the jab as a range finder or set up, MacDonald needs to vary the way he utilizes the strike. Daley will likely look to counter off of the jab so full commitment in the first round should be saved for when MacDonald becomes used to the distance. He should use the jab as a range finder first, then as a set up, then as an actual snappy hurting punch. Rory should also utilize his kicking game as much as possible. MacDonald is more than likely going to be the man to initiate the wrestling game so he should be aiming to use kicks as much as possible, particularly the front snap kick that will both wind Daley and keep the slugger at bay.


This will be one of the highest profile Bellator fights ever, particularly when you consider how highly touted Rory MacDonald is. This is a shining opportunity for Paul Daley to play spoiler and build his and Bellator’s brand. That alone makes this fight one to watch.

Who do you got?

Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

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