Welterweights looking to move one step closer to being the top contender square off Saturday night in the main event of UFC Fight Night 54, as Rory MacDonald battles Tarec Saffiedine.
Set for the Scotiabank Centre in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada, the main card airs on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET after prelims on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 2 starting at 7 p.m. ET.
MacDonald (17-2) has won two straight via decision since a 2013 loss to current No. 1 contender Robbie Lawler. The Canadian downed Tyron Woodley this past June after a February victory vs. Demian Maia.
UFC on FOX analyst Brian Stann offered up his thoughts on the main event, saying it is about as even of a fight as you can have.
“MacDonald is a very well rounded fighter who can control the distance with his jabs, is very strong in the clinch and can take you down and dominate you from there,” he said. “When people think about Saffiedine, they think about those devastating leg kicks, but people underestimate his clinch and the wrestling game.”
Saffiedine (15-3) was the last man to hold the Strikeforce welterweight title, finally making his UFC debut in January with a decision win over Hyun Gyu Lim. He defeated Nate Marquardt last year to win the Strikeforce title.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, also an analyst working the card this weekend, offered his take on the contest.
“I think it’s going to take more than the jab for MacDonald,” he said. “That jab will leave him in a vulnerable spot. Those leg kicks from Saffiedine will get there before the jabs. He’s really going to have to mix it up by wearing him down, get some clinches in there, make it more of a brawl and that’s his best chance to win this fight.”
Other planned bouts include bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway, Chad Laprise vs. Yosdenis Cedeno and Mitch Gagnon vs. Roman Salazar. Officials recently tabbed Chris Kelades and Roman Salazar as replacements for injured fighters.
Check out the complete card below. FightLine will have coverage of the action this weekend:
MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1/10 p.m. ET)
Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Bantamweight: Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway
Lightweight: Chad Laprise vs. Yosdenis Cedeno
Middleweight: Elias Theodorou vs. Bruno Santos
Welterweight: Nordine Taleb vs. Li Jingliang
Bantamweight: Mitch Gagnon vs. Roman Salazar
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 2/8 p.m. ET)
Lightweight: Daron Cruickshank vs. Anthony Njokuani
Lightweight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Jake Lindsey
Lightweight: Jason Saggo vs. Paul Felder
Flyweight: Patrick Holohan vs. Chris Kelades
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/7 p.m. ET)
Welterweight: Albert Tumenov vs. Matt Dwyer
Bantamweight: Pedro Munhoz vs. Jerrod Sanders