OTTAWA, Ontario — Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson won a unanimous five-round decision over Rory “Red King” MacDonald in a battle of top welterweight contenders at UFC Fight Night 89 on Saturday night.
As promised, it was a technical fight with both men looking to control the range. Thompson kept on the move and was more active, with MacDonald struggling to score — or come up with a solution.
The judges scored it 50-45, 50-45, 48-47 for Thompson (13-1-0), who left MacDonald bloodied and confused.
Thompson, who spent time at MacDonald’s Tristar Gym in Montreal some years ago, has won seven straight — including first-round stoppages of Jake Ellenberger and former title-holder Johny Hendricks.
MacDonald (18-4-0) is ranked No. 1 among 170-pound contenders while Thompson is No. 2. Robbie Lawler, who also won a split decision over MacDonald in 2013, fights No. 3 Tyron Woodley on July 30.
“I want the winner,” Thompson said.
MacDonald is a native of Kelowna, British Columbia, and fights out of Montreal. He was one of 10 Canadians on the 13-fight televised card at The Arena at TD Place. Canadians went 6-4 on the night.
“I can’t take anything away from Stephen,” MacDonald said.
It was MacDonald’s first fight since last July when he suffered a bloody fifth-round TKO at the hands of welterweight champion Lawler that left the challenger with a badly broken nose.
It also marked the last fight on MacDonald’s current contract — the fighter was gambling that a win would help attract a better offer from the UFC or elsewhere.
In the co-main event, Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone put on a show in moving up a weight class by stopping Montreal welterweight Patrick (The Predator) Cote at 2:35 of the third round. Cerrone had the upper hand from the get-go.
It was the second fight at 170 pounds for the popular Cerrone, who is ranked No. 4 among lightweight (155-pound) contenders. Cote (24-10-0) is a former middleweight who once fought for the 185-pound title.
Cerrone (30-7-0 with one no contest) looked polished and dangerous at welterweight, showing his power by knocking Cote down three times.
Earlier, light-heavyweight Steve Bosse (12-2-0) of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, won a 29-28, 29-28, 29-27 decision over Sean O’Connell (17-8-0) in a wild slugfest in which both men threw and absorbed big hits.
Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood (11-1-0) looked impressive in stopping Valerie Letourneau (8-5-0) at 2:51 of the third round of a hard-nosed one-off women’s flyweight bout at 125 pounds.
Montreal lightweight Olivier “The Quebec Kid” Aubin-Mercier (9-2-0) used his ground game to combat the striking of France’s Thibault Gouti (11-2-0), winning by rear-naked choke at 2:28 of the third round.
On the undercard, Toronto light-heavyweight Misha Cirkunov stopped Ion Cutelaba with a third-round submission. Cirkunov, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, improved to 12-2. Cutelaba is 11-2.
“I will fight anybody,” Cirkunov said. “Give me anybody.”
Toronto middleweight Elias Theodorou won a unanimous decision over Sam Alvey. Theodorou (13-1) kept Alvey (26-8 with one no contest) at distance with kicks in the fight that drew boos for its lack of action.
Colby Covington, a former two-time All-America wrestler at Oregon State, used his wrestling skills to subdue Quebec City welterweight Jonathan Meunier in the third round. Covington is 9-1, and Meunier 7-1.