The last bout of the Bellator welterweight Grand Prix’s opening round is set to headline this Saturday night’s Bellator 220 event live in San Jose, California. The bout will be the first of the tournament to feature the title being contested.
Of course, that means that the current champion, Rory MacDonald, will be putting his crown on the line as he faces off with seasoned veteran, Jon Fitch.
In MacDonald’s last time out, he made the move to middleweight in the hopes of adding a second divisional title to his name by dethroning Gegard Mousasi. Unfortunately for ‘The Red King,’ that did not go according to plan.
Despite going up and then back down to where he usually fights, one of Canada’s finest doesn’t feel like this ‘return cut’ was any more difficult than the ones prior to his middleweight debut.
“Not really,” MacDonald told BJPenn.com. “I feel like my cut has gone great. I asked God to help me through this weight cut. I did put on some muscle in my offseason, but my diet was really good. Just like I pray to God to help me through this weight cut and everything. It’s been very comfortable and I think it will continue to [be]. Cause the hardest part is tonight – tomorrow.
“I feel really good. My body feels good even during the cut and I have a lot of energy. I’m ready to go.”
As part of the welterweight title tournament, the champ will have to be ready to go more often than not as the next challenger will always be waiting for him.
If he defeats Fitch this weekend, he’ll go on to face the undefeated BJJ ace, Neiman Gracie who he’s confident he’ll defeat. When it comes to his toughest test in the Grand Prix, the champion believes that would be a former opponent who resides on the other side of the bracket.
“Douglas Lima looked really impressive against [Andrey] Koreshkov,” MacDonald said. “I think he will probably be in the finals and I believe that I will finish Jon, finish Neiman, and I’ll also finish Douglas Lima and I do believe Douglas is my strongest test in the tournament.”
MacDonald won the Bellator title by defeating Lima in a competitive five-round war early last year.
As MacDonald goes forward and faces Fitch, he isn’t surprised that the fight is happening now rather than sooner when they were both in the UFC. However, he kept things plain and simple when sharing what his biggest takeaway was from his fight with Mousasi.
“What not to do,” he said with a laugh. “Here’s an example of what not to do. So you know… That [would be my biggest takeaway].”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/25/2019