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Rory MacDonald will defend his Bellator MMA welterweight title against undefeated Neiman Gracie in the semifinals of the promotion’s welterweight grand prix. As they headline Bellator 222 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, here are some of the numbers that may just define their exciting matchup.
Overall experienceWhen MacDonald made his pro debut on Oct. 15, 2005, Gracie was making a name in the jiu-jitsu scene. With great results in no-gi tournaments, it almost felt like Gracie was destined for mixed martial arts. The fourth generation member of the famed jiu-jitsu family made his pro debut on Sept. 14, 2013 for World Series of Fighting, where he had a two-fight stint. After that, he moved to Bellator and has been with the promotion ever since. In all, he has an unblemished record of 9-0.
MacDonald went 9-0 before getting the call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He fought for various promotions, most notably, King of the Cage. His Octagon stint was excellent, having finished with a record of 9-4, with victories over the likes of Tyron Woodley, Nate Diaz, B.J. Penn and Jake Ellenberger. Following consecutive losses to Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson, however, MacDonald was released and later decided to sign a contract with Bellator. His Bellator record currently stands at 2-1-1.
Finishing rate (knockout)After 25 professional fights, MacDonald has tallied 20 victories, seven of which have come by KO or TKO. That makes for a 35 percent knockout rate. His victims include Yoon Heo, Kajan Johnson, Clay French, Nick Hinchliffe, Mike Pyle, Che Mills and Tarec Saffiedine. Gracie, on the other hand, has yet to stop an opponent by knockout.
Finishing rate (submission)Between the two welterweights, Gracie is naturally more of a submission specialist. Of his nine career victories, eight have come by submission, making for an impressive 89 percent submission rate. He loves to take his opponent’s back and has in fact earned three wins by rear-naked choke. His list of submission victims include Darren Costa, Dustin Holyko, Bobby Flynn, Rudy Bears, Dave Marfone, Zak Bucia, Javier Torres and Ed Ruth.
Faced against a high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner like Gracie, it’s easy to forget that MacDonald is also a black belt. He boasts of a 35 percent finishing rate by submission, which now totals seven. What’s even more impressive is the fact that six of those came in the first round. He’s tapped out Terry Thiara, Ken Tran, Jordan Mein, Quinton Moreno, Elmer Waterhen, Michael Guymon and Paul Daley.
Career lossesThe more experienced MacDonald went 10-0 before suffering his first defeat to Carlos Condit at UFC 115. That was his second bout inside the Octagon. He also lost to Stephen Thompson, Gegard Mousasi and Robbie Lawler twice.
While MacDonald has five losses in his professional career, Gracie, as aforementioned, has kept a perfect record after nine fights. He’s heard the final bell only once in his career, and that was against Roger Carroll.