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Bellator 179: Is Rory MacDonald The Centerpiece Of Bellator? (Editorial)

Rory MacDonald is just 27 years old.

Yet, he’s already fought 22 times including some incredible battles with the likes of Robbie Lawler (twice), Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

He holds wins over Woodley, Maia, former UFC champion BJ Penn, former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine and Nate Diaz.

But can “Red King” finally climb to the top of the mountain and achieve gold in Bellator? That journey begins Friday night at Bellator 179 vs. Paul Daley.

Bellator under the management of Scott Coker has made it a point to go after some of the top free agents in the world, landing MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Ryan Bader, Lorenz Larkin and even Fedor Emelianenko.

MacDonald, though, is different.

He’s young, just entering his prime and could arguably be considered a Top-10 pound-for-pound fighter.

Sure, MacDonald is coming off back-to-back losses to Thompson and Lawler, but he didn’t go down without a fight in either.

There is a lot of pressure on the Canadian, and he will have spent almost an entire year on the sidelines recovering from injuries once the cage door closes and Daley stands across from him.

“Semtex” will be fighting in his native country and owns 39 wins to his credit – with 29 of them being knockouts or TKOs. He defeated the likes of Brenna Ward, Scott Smith, Martin Kampmann and Duane Ludwig.

This is no walk in the park for MacDonald, but if he wants to be viewed in the same manner as the McGregors, Woodleys and Lawlers of the world, he has to take care of business.