After slugging through his first two Ultimate Fighting Championship victories in Washington and Las Vegas, Oakdale fighter Michael McDonald is happy to tackle his third UFC opponent in his own state.
The Modesto resident and pride of Oakdale MMA has agreed to a Nov. 19 showdown with Johnny Eduardo on the UFC 139 pay per view card at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
And McDonald won’t be the only local in attendance.
“I know there are a million people from Oakdale and Modesto already planning on going,” McDonald said on Sunday. “I have been looking forward to this for a long time — to have my friends and family able to come to one of my UFC fights.
“I’m really excited to put on a good show for everybody.”
McDonald (13-1, 2-0 in the UFC) said he’s healthy and he feels great. He has continued light cardio work since his last UFC fight (June 28), and expects to begin his six-week pre-fight keep on Oct. 10 at Oakdale MMA’s gym.
Being well prepared is always important for mixed martial artists, and this match-up is no different. Eduardo is a seasoned MMA veteran with 59 rounds of professional fighting under his belt.
Eduardo (25-9) has twice exploded for 11-fight win streaks and had a chance to win his twelfth straight before a three-round decision loss to Raphael Assuncao (17-4) at UFC 134 in August. Eduardo is a 33-year-old Bellator Fighting Championships veteran with 13 submission victories and six knockout wins on his record. McDonald has seven knockouts on his record and ended 10 of his first 12 fights with a first-round victory before back-to-back three round decisions to start his UFC career this year. He won a three round war and unanimous decision over Edwin Figueroa that claimed Fight of The Night honors in March, then out-pointed dangerous striker Chris Cariaso in a split decision at UFC 130.
With a third fight looming, McDonald is focused on getting back to the same style that earned him his first 11 stoppages.
“Against (Cariaso) I focused too much on his style and was so customized to face him that I stifled myself about what I was all about before I got into the UFC,” McDonald said. “I need to focus on me and I need to do that to win this fight.
“I don’t want it to go to another decision. I am really motivated to finish the fight.”
McDonald will train with his brothers (and teammates) Justin Smitley and Brad McDonald, along with Oakdale MMA instructor Tom Theofanopoulos and the rest of the Last Stand Fight Team in preparation for the fight.
The UFC 139 card is packed with huge fights that will appear in both the main event and preliminary matches. Former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson will fight former UFC champion Shogun Rua in the main event, while Wanderlei Silva, Cung Lee, Urijah Faber, Stephan Bonner, Ryan Bader, Robbie Lawlor and Miguel Torres are all expected to make appearances. In relation to fighter popularity and win/loss records, it’s one of the deepest cards in UFC history.