The UFC has announced that its first-ever event in Halifax, Nova Scotia — UFC Fight Night 54*, October 4th at the Halifax Metro Centre — will be headlined by top welterweight contender Rory MacDonald against former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine.
It’s a unexpected booking, in terms of MacDonald and Saffiedine’s respective places in the 170-pound pecking order. Rory Mac is officially ranked as the UFC’s #2 welterweight contender, and is off to a great start in 2014, with dominant decision wins against Demain Maia and Tyron Woodley. Saffiedine is way down at #10 in the rankings, partly due to injury-related inactivity. Though “Sponge” is on a five-fight win streak, he’s only been able to compete once since the UFC brought him over from Strikeforce in January 2013, earning a decision win against Hyun Gyu Lim on the first Fight Pass card in January of this year. I mean, I’m sure you all remember that one.
So yeah, a bit of a step down for MacDonald. Then again, part of the UFC’s approach to new international markets involves getting a native fighter to stomp a foreigner, so I guess this booking is as good as any other. (It should be pointed out that MacDonald is originally from British Columbia, way the hell on the other side of Canada.)
We’ll update you when the card fills out and broadcast plans are announced.
* I think it’s #54, but honestly, I’m losing track of the numbers at this point. From now on, we’ll just say “the Halifax one” and you’ll know what I’m talking about.