In what is being promoted as the semi-main event of Metamoris 5, UFC fighter Rory MacDonald will take on JT Torres.
While this may be the semi-main event, I find that I am more interested in this bout than the actual main event. Rory, who recently secured his position as number one contender in the UFC’s welterweight division, will be taking on a tough task in JT. MacDonald says he’s taking on Torres to test his own skills. Rory will have the size advantage. JT competes at 167 and Rory fights at 170, but fighters are known to cut more weight (and don’t have to weigh-in on the same day like Jiu Jitsu guys do). But JT is who I expect to win in this matchup.
Rory MacDonald is known for being a cerebral MMA fighter. He trains out of Tri-star gym and is known for not taking very many risks and tactically taking apart his opponents. His biggest grappling accomplishment that I am aware of is being able to gain positions of control against BJJ ace Damien Maia. Rory openly discusses in the video below that his training is spread out over many disciplines as compared to JT who is just focused on competitive Jiu Jitsu. Recently Rory’s coach Firas Zahabi said in an interview, “It’s all about the experience and enjoyment of less intense competition,” which will make this interesting to see how Rory fares.
JT built his name as a member of Team Lloyd Irvin. JT and his teammate Keenan Cornelius left Team Lloyd Irvin after a rape scandal rocked the gym. He joined the strong Team Atos and immediately made an impact, winning gold at the No-Gi World Championships in 2013 and winning silver in the Gi at the World Championships in 2014. There have only been two American male black belts who won gold at the Gi World Championship. The entire Jiu Jitsu world has JT’s teammate Keenan Cornelius as being the next potential one. JT came really close this year before losing in the final match to Lucas Lepri.
I think it is really brave for any MMA fighter to take on an expert in a specific discipline. Rory is really stepping out on a limb, but this isn’t an un-winnable endeavor. He is going to have a size advantage over JT, and Rory’s lack of press about his BJJ may be a positive. I’m picking JT, but I could see this ending in a draw.