Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald sounded unsure about his future after he retained his title following a majority draw with Jon Fitch on Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the Welterweight Grand Prix tournament in San Jose, California.
Fitch (32-7-2, 1 NC), a former UFC contender and Professional Fighters League champion, mauled MacDonald, as expected, and relentlessly pursued takedowns throughout the fight at the SAP Center. One judge scored the bout 48-46 for Fitch, and two other judges scored it 47-47.
ESPN.com scored the fight 48-46 for Fitch.
"I don't know what to say," MacDonald said. "I landed some good stuff in there. I don't know. Something ... it's hard to sometimes pull the trigger now. I don't have that killer inside. It's really hard to explain. But I hesitate a little bit now. It wasn't my best performance."
MacDonald (20-5-1) stayed busy against Fitch, who poses a difficult matchup for any fighter because of his grueling style, but found himself on the mat multiple times throughout the fight. MacDonald also landed heavy punches and kicks, one of which stunned Fitch in the fourth round, but Fitch's aggression was the theme of the night.
Entering the fight, MacDonald had touted his relationship with God as the motivating factor in his life. That was also, he said, the reason he never felt completely comfortable in the cage against Fitch.
"I feel like God has really called me the last little while," MacDonald said. "It's changed my spirit, changed my heart. ... I don't know if I have that same drive to hurt people anymore. It's confusing, but I know the Lord has something in store for me."
MacDonald is set to face Neiman Gracie in the next round of the welterweight tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 14, however, he seemed uncertain about rebooting and preparing for that fight in six weeks after a five-round battle with Fitch.
"I have to get out of here and reevaluate," MacDonald said. "Tonight, there was a mix of emotions in there. Tonight, there was something different."
MacFarlane stops Arteaga in third round
MacFarlane threw a vicious elbow that opened a serious gash on Arteaga's forehead in the third. A cageside doctor examined the cut, and the fight was called at 1 minute, 50 seconds of the third.
Before the bout, Arteaga had vowed to finish MacFarlane, who scoffed at the notion, but the duo manufactured one of the most entertaining fights of the night.
Both had their moments. MacFarlane went for various submission attempts, nearly securing a knee bar in the opening round that might have ended the fight, but a scrappy Arteaga displayed impressive takedown defense and an eclectic striking palette that seemed to frustrate MacFarlane in the second round.
The fight deserved a better ending, said MacFarlane, who promised Arteaga an automatic rematch.
Davis submits McGeary in third round
For the duration of his career, Phil Davis failed to live up to his nickname. He's a smothering wrestler who lacks a TV-friendly style.
That's why his entertaining win over Liam McGeary (13-4) was a refreshing sight and proof of Davis' ability to mix it up when he gets the urge.
Davis (20-5, 1 NC) was bouncy and elusive, harassing the 6-foot-6 McGeary with damaging leg kicks and a series of hard left jabs. One of the jabs put a frustrated McGeary on the mat, and Davis commenced a ground-and-pound attack that made McGeary tap in the third round after he'd suffered a broken jaw.
McGeary has struggled since losing his title in a loss to Davis in 2016, dropping three of his past five fights.
After the fight, Davis called out Bellator welterweight champion Ryan Bader, who took the title from Davis via split decision victory in 2017.
"There's a champion that ran around for five rounds," said Davis, referencing Bader. "If he wants to shut me up, I'm here, baby."
Henderson defeats Piccolotti via split decision
Henderson continued on his path toward another shot at the lightweight title two years after he lost to Michael Chandler via split decision in a title bout in 2016.
Piccolotti had Henderson in a tough spot in the opening round as he threatened to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke. But Henderson proved too elusive, as he continued to escape by controlling Piccolotti's right arm every time he went for a choke.
Henderson eventually snatched the momentum and put the pressure on Piccolotti, who seemed shocked Henderson had escaped his submission attempts multiple times.
In the third round, Henderson used punches and kicks to control the action before he reversed a rear-naked choke attempt by Piccolotti and landed in top position, a maneuver that likely sealed the fight for Henderson.