Rory MacDonald can see a clear path to the Professional Fighters League welterweight playoffs, even as a hulking Brazilian with experience on his side stands in the way.
The former Bellator MMA and King of the Cage champion will toe the line against Gleison Tibau in the PFL 5 headliner on Thursday at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. MacDonald has won twice in his past three appearances. He made his promotional debut at PFL 2 on April 29, when he submitted Curtis Millender with a rear-naked choke 3:38 into the first round of their pairing at 170 pounds. Tibau, meanwhile, remains a fixture at the star-studded American Top Team camp in Coconut Creek, Florida. Unlike MacDonald, his first Professional Fighters League appearance at PFL 2 did not go according to plan and instead resulted in a unanimous decision loss to Joao Zeferino.
In advance of MacDonald’s forthcoming showdown with Tibau, a look at some of the numbers they have compiled to this point:
31: Years of age for MacDonald, who was born on July 22, 1989 in Quesnel, British Columbia.
8: MacDonald wins by submission, accounting for 36% of his career total (22). His methods of choice: five rear-naked chokes, two armbars and one triangle choke. MacDonald owns seven other wins by knockout or technical knockout and seven more by decision.
6: Promotions in which MacDonald has competed as a professional mixed martial artist. He has gone 9-4 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, 7-0 in King of the Cage, 3-2-1 in Bellator MMA, 1-0 in the PFL, 1-0 in Extreme Fighting Challenge and 1-0 in Rumble in the Cage.
644: Days spent by MacDonald as Bellator welterweight champion. It ranks as the second-longest title reign in the promotion’s history at 170 pounds. Only Ben Askren (1,120 days) enjoyed a lengthier stay at the top.
.752: Cumulative winning percentage between the five men—Douglas Lima, Gegard Mousasi, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit—who have defeated MacDonald. They own a combined record of 155-48-3.
37: Years of age for Tibau, who was born in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, on July 10, 1983.
4: Tibau victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 11% of his career total (35). More than a decade has passed since he last stopped an opponent with strikes, as he cut down Caol Uno with punches at UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31, 2010. Tibau owns 14 other victories by submission and 17 more by decision.
84: Takedowns executed by Tibau as a member of the UFC roster, placing him second on the promotion’s all-time list in the category. He trails only former two-division Georges St. Pierre (90).
15: First-round finishes on the Tibau resume. His 55-second technical knockout of Antonio Moreno at a Nordeste Combat Championship event on May 9, 2007 remains the fastest stoppage victory of his 50-fight career.
344: Combined wins between the 15 men who have beaten Tibau: Zeferino, Desmond Green, Islam Makhachev, Abel Trujillo, Tony Ferguson, Michael Johnson, Evan Dunham, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jim Miller, Melvin Guillard, Joe Stevenson, Tyson Griffin, Nick Diaz, Marcelo Brito and Eiji Mitsuoka. They hold a cumulative record of 344-146-5 (.695).