Oakdale MMA fighter Michael McDonald knocked out pound-for-pound legend and former world champion, Miguel Torres, with a pair of powerful uppercuts just over three minutes into a UFC 145 card aired live during Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Atlanta.
The 21-year-old Modesto native who recently moved to Oakdale is the second-youngest fighter in the UFC and considered one of the top prospects in the sport. He was thought an underdog to 31-year-old Torres, who falls to 40-5 while McDonald rises to 15-1.
“For four years now I have been looking at Miguel Torres like I can put this guy away like I have done for most of my career,” McDonald said on Monday in Oakdale. “When I am on my game I think there are very few people on earth that can last more than a round with me.”
McDonald has won eight straight fights with an impressive 12 first-round finishes. He ended Torres’ attempted rise back to the top of the bantamweight division when two powerful uppercuts slid underneath Torres’ outstretched arms for solid connection on the veteran’s chin.
The first sent Torres back towards the center of the octagon and the second dropped Torres to the canvas. McDonald pounced for finishing blows until referee Herb Dean could pull him aside to call the knock-out.
“I went in with no game plan or premeditated strategy other than to keep on my feet because he has very good jujitsu,” McDonald said. “I thought we were even on the ground but I knew on my feet I would be steps ahead of him and my advantages would play into a victory.”
McDonald said he has no idea what’s next for him, but he is ready for whatever the UFC throws at him.
San Diego’s Dominick Cruz (19-1) is the current UFC titleholder in the division and will defend his title against top contender Urijah Faber of Sacramento this summer. Other top fighters at 135-pounds include Renan Barao (30-1), Brian Bowles (10-2) and Scott Jorgensen (13-5).
McDonald returned to Oakdale Sunday on the tail end of whirlwind tour home that included numerous interviews and photo shoots.
He’s already been back to the gym to spend time with his brothers (Oakdale MMA fighters Justin Smitley and Brad McDonald) and other teammates.
“It’s really cool to be normal again and not worry about getting up and killing myself in training today,” McDonald said with a laugh. “Relaxing is the general theme of the day.”