Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (29-6, 5-2 UFC) vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald (16-2, 5-1 UFC), at UFC on FOX 9
The co main event of the evening sees the original poster boy and hometown hero Urijah Faber takes on the next generation talent in Michael McDonald. In what surely would be a number 1 contender fight if both these guys didn’t recently fight for the belt, a win still moves either guy back to the very top.
Faber was the fighter that first drew attention to the lighter weight fighters in the States back in the early to mid 2000’s. While Japan has always had a bustling lighter weight MMA scene, here in North America it all started with Faber. Now a decade later and a full blown MMA veteran he is still near the top and still as good as ever.
-Faber was a good college wrestler just barely missing out on all American status, but has used his hyper active wrestling style to great effect in the cage. His double leg shot is lightning fast and he can get in on guys hips before they even have a chance to counter. His best defense to a wrestling attack is actually his own wrestling attack and has rarely been outdone on this front.
-Early in his career Faber had decent kickboxing but in 2008 against legend Jens Pulver he unleashed a vicious striking attack that surprised everyone. He measures his right hand incredibly well picking his shots and hitting very hard and is very good at catching guys coming in on him. He also throws that big right to the body and it HURTS guys when it lands.
-Tying everything together is Faber’s high offensive output, creativity, and conditioning, these are the factors that make his brown belt level skills black belt level effective. He can find openings, switch attacks, and keep a high pace.
The double edged sword to Faber’s creativity is that it can and has left him open to attacks (Mike Brown). His confidence is so high and he is so comfy in the cage that he may or may not have learned his lesson. So far the best way to beat him is to find a way to slow him down, Mike Brown used his superior size and strength, Aldo used leg kicks, and Dominic Cruz used his own nonstop movement do this effectively.
Much like the welterweight division’s Rory MacDonald, Mayday represents the next generation mixed martial artist (same last name too). He started training at 10 years old and now is good at everything. He recently failed to capture the title from Renan Barrao but rebounded nicely in his next fight.
-McDonald’s bread and butter is his kickboxing, he throws everything but definitely has a more western style throwing good head and body kicks and less leg kicks. He uses his strikes well to keep guys at distance and he has definite KO power. Countering or attacking, McDonald is effective in both and a very accurate puncher.
-McDonald’s submission skills allow him to open up on the feet and he is not opposed to working off his back. Long legs make for good triangles and armbars or at the very least for tying guys up in guard to force a stand up.
-Also very impressive is the way McDonald carries himself in the cage. This fight will be 1 month shy of his 23rd birthday and already he acts like a seasoned veteran.. This bodes well for this fight because Faber has been around a long time and will be extremely at ease every step of the way.
Only having been in the big shows since 2010 McDonald has been beat only by crafty UFC Champ Renan Barrao and bantamweight OG Cole Escovedo. His wrestling technique is good but if he can put a little more horsepower behind his TD defense and offense he will do much better. He started to fade a little late against Barrao but it was a long fight against the champ so you can’t fault him too much.
Another fantastic fight on a card full of them, this fight will really test where both guys are at. Faber has been in this game for a very long time and we never know when he’s going to slow down. Likewise we still don’t know how good Mayday will be. I got Faber holding off the young lion(s) and getting 1 more shot at the belt. Urijah Faber wins by submission after hurting McDonald with a punch.