There is an undercurrent of hype surrounding UFC Welterweight Rory MacDonald. There are those that are taking about the 22 year old Canadian known as the ‘Waterboy’ like he is the next Georges St Pierre. Well, this weekend, at UFC 145 in Atlanta, he takes to the octagon a prohibitive favorite against British fighter Che Mills. Macdonald stands as a 5 to 1 favorite, -500, while Mills comes in at +400. But is MacDonald the next big thing? How would he fair against Jake Shields, Jake Ellenberger, Diego Sanchez or some of the other welterweights that are where he wants to be? Because unfortunately for Che Mills, he is probably not the guy to test MacDonald.
MacDonald has been gathering up a head of steam ever since his lone loss to interim UFC Champion Carlos Condit. He also beat Nate Diaz into the Lightweight division, and he owns a nice win over Mike Pyle as well. It has been close to 8 months since we have seen MacDonald in the octagon.
Mills has been absent from the octagon for about 6 months, and he took out Chris Cope in his lone UFC appearance last November. He has fought overseas before, in Japan, Russia and Spain so the travel should not be that much of an issue. The question is does Mills belong in what is basically a co main event (second to last fight on the main card)?
Mills’ main advantage is that he is a long, lanky welterweight. It helps him with only an average ground game, and at times it helps him create leverage. His wrestling is awful.
The problem with this matchup for Mills is that the advantages outlined above will not be advantages against a fighter like Rory MacDonald. MacDonald will be longer, stronger, is a better wrestler.
Mills is a weird, unorthodox striker, and he took out Mario Zaromskis, a tough guy, late in their fight so he retained power and was dangerous. But MacDonald is a whole different animal. Zaromskis is wild and aggressive, and tough but not technical. Mario was probably beating Che in the fight before the KO blow, and his unimpressive 0-2 record with a third NC for Strikeforce let’s you know his level.
MacDonald has to get through this fight to keep on growing, and it is a fight he should win handily. Then as mentioned above, it will be time for a step up fight for MacDonald. Keep an eye out for this kid.