Two intriguing match-ups with divisional implications have been added to UFC 174, set for Rogers Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the welterweight division, #2 ranked Rory MacDonald faces #4 ranked Tyron Woodley in a bout that will surely crown the victor a shot at the title. The other announced bout targeted for the card comes in the light heavyweight division, with #9 Ryan Bader facing #13 Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante. UFC Tonight announced the news on Wednesday.
Both MacDonald and Woodley could have earned a title shot with their respective recent victories over Demian Maia and Carlos Condit. However, with recently crowned champion Johny Hendricks on the sidelines, they will instead face each other in an interesting welterweight affair.
The 24 year old MacDonald bounced back from a loss to #1 ranked Robbie Lawler with an attention-grabbing win over the aforementioned Maia at UFC 170, coming back from a poor first round to impress in the final two and win a unanimous decision. That win takes his UFC record to 7-2 and with wins over the likes of Mike Pyle, Jake Ellenberger and BJ Penn, MacDonald has a plethora of impressive victories.
In Tyron Woodley, MacDonald faces one of the fiercest strikers at 170lbs. His most recent win over Carlos Condit didn’t come without its doubts, the nature of the TKO finish in the second round made fans claim this wasn’t a deserved victory. Condit was unable to continue after damaging his right knee, which was later revealed to be a torn ACL taking the former interim champion out of action for several months.
Woodley still has a number of impressive wins, with knockout victories over Josh Koscheck and Jay Hieron in the UFC, as well as victories over Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley in Strikeforce. A win over MacDonald will surely be the biggest of his career and will make the nickname ‘The Chosen One’ accurate, but that is no easy feat.
The other announced bout between Ryan Bader and Rafael Feijao pits two of the most respecter strikers in the 205lbs division together. Bader has had an inconsistent run of 4-4 in his last eight, but when he has won, he has looked very impressive. In particular, wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine have cemented Bader’s place in the top 10, but he has suffered a number of setbacks.
Feijao will hope to add to the setbacks with a win over Bader after bouncing back from a disappointing UFC debut. Feijao suffered cardio issues in the first round which led to a knockout loss against Thiago Silva, but came back emphatically with a knockout of his own against Igor Pokrajac in November. He was originally in talks to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 175, though the UFC decided to give Cormier a fight with Henderson and opt to pair Feijao with Bader.
A headliner for the UFC 174 card is yet to be announced, though rumours have surfaced that a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and contender Ali Bagautinov could be targeted. The card goes down on June 14 at Rogers Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.