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McDonald Nearing WEC debut
7-14 McDonald Mug
Michael McDonald
One of the highest organizations for lightweight mixed martial art fighters in the world, World Extreme Cagefighting, could see an Oakdale product make his nationally televised debut by the end of the year.Modesto resident and Oakdale Mixed Martial Arts Academy fighter, Michael McDonald, was approached by WEC general manager Reed Harris after his impressive second round knock out of highly touted Cole Escovedo on Saturday at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore.The fight, which won McDonald a Tachi Palace bantamweight title, was expected to be Escovedo’s precursor to re-entrance in the WEC, but instead left Harris with a new fighter to recruit after back-to-back devastating right hooks left Escovedo slumping against the cage for a total knock out.The victory avenged McDonald’s only professional loss in a 10-1 career. The four-year pupil of Oakdale MMA trainer Tom Theofanopoulos had won his first eight fights by first round knock outs or submissions before grinding to a halt in a second round loss to Escovedo last year.Escovedo (16-5) has fought the likes of Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver, and was carrying a five-fight win streak before McDonald could land the knock out.“I had walked through everybody for three years, and thought Cole would just be another one of those in our first fight,” McDonald said. “That was a time in my life where I didn’t want to be at the gym and I wanted to live with my girlfriend and be an adult.“The loss definitely motivated me to train right for this fight and I just left it in God’s hands.”According to Theofanopoulos, McDonald’s younger brother, Bradly, became the youngest professional fighter in the United States when he made his pro debut at the age of 15.Now 17, Bradly will look to improve a 3-1 record in a packed Gladiator Challenge card at the Red Hawk Casino in Placerville on Saturday. The night will also feature Oakdale MMA heavyweight Angel DeAnda (7-1) in a GC title defense against undefeated Josh Appelt (4-0).Oakdale High graduate Bill Theofanopoulos (3-2) will take on Daniel Romero (1-0) for a Native American lightweight title, while fellow Mustang alumnus Martin Sandoval (5-2) will see his first contest since a March 27 submission victory.