In a bantamweight clash at UFC Fight Night 26, Michael McDonald dominated Brad Pickett en route to a second-round submission victory Saturday night in Boston.
McDonald, the No. 3 bantamweight according to the UFC's official rankings, beat Pickett to every punch, nearly stopping the Brit in the opening moments of the bout. When Pickett opted out of the striking game, McDonald was ready for him on the ground, where he earned the submission stoppage.
Here's what we learned from the contest:
What We Learned about Michael McDonald
McDonald looked like a future champion in this fight, beating Pickett at his own game and then taking advantage of a small opening to finish the fight. McDonald may be just 22 years old, but he's a legitimate contender, and he's probably the best 135-pound fighter without a belt.
We also learned that his well-rounded game makes him a threat just about anywhere the fight goes.
Nicknamed "One Punch," Pickett was expected to at least give McDonald some problems on the feet. Instead, McDonald was undeniably the better striker, landing more consistently and avoiding any damage.
Meanwhile, he was also better on the ground, taking advantage of the first submission opportunity he got, forcing Pickett to tap.
McDonald is going to be able to beat guys on the feet and on the ground, making him a constant threat at 135 pounds. He may be just one fight removed from a title fight loss, but he belongs right back in a championship contest.
What We Learned about Brad Pickett
We knew Pickett was tough, but this tough?
The British striker was bludgeoned from the opening bell against McDonald, coming up short on just about every strike and failing to live up to his "One Punch" nickname. And when he moved the fight to the floor, McDonald was ready for him, sinking in a submission to stop the fight.
Pickett, 34, took a massive beating, and there were several instances where the fight was nearly stopped. He's as tough as they come at bantamweight.
But we also know now that Pickett is probably not a top-five bantamweight. He's very talented and can compete with the majority of 135-pounders, but guys like McDonald are simply too much for the Brit to handle.
What's Next for Michael McDonald?
McDonald probably needs one more win before fighting for a title again. And the winner of Urijah Faber vs. Yuri Alcantara would be a perfect option for the youngster. Faber should win that fight, so McDonald vs. "The California Kid" seems like a good booking.
Another option for McDonald is a matchup against the Raphael Assuncao vs. T.J. Dillashaw winner. That bout takes place in October, so the time frame may not work out.
What's Next for Brad Pickett?
Pickett is a longtime veteran of the sport, so he's met plenty of the top bantamweights. A fight against Scott Jorgensen would make sense, considering the two met three years ago in the WEC.
Another option for Pickett is the winner of Ivan Menjivar vs. Norifumi Yamamoto. Those two meet at the end of next month.