On Saturday October 4, the UFC will hold UFC Fight Night 54: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine from the Halifax Metro Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada.

In the night’s main event fast rising welterweights look to draw closer to a title shot. Canada’s own Rory MacDonald will go head-to-head with Belgium’s Tarev Saffiedine. MacDonald finally gets his first headlining shot in the UFC. MacDonald has long been considered one of the best at welterweight, but has come up short in the big spots. This year MacDonald has looked phenomenal with victories over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. Saffiedine was the final Strikeforce welterweight champion and finally made his UFC debut back in January. In that debut “Sponge” battered Hyun Gyu Lim with leg kicks for twenty five minutes en route to a unanimous decision victory.

In the night’s co-feature we could be seeing a number one contender’s bout in the bantamweight division when Brazil’s Raphael Assuncao faces the USA’s Bryan Caraway. Assuncao should be very close to a title shot. He was the last man to defeat now bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw, and has won six straight in the octagon. Caraway has been doing his best lately to be known as more than Miesha Tate’s boyfriend. Since entering the UFC, Caraway holds four victories to only one defeat and all of those four wins have come via submission.

The rest of the main card is filled with Canada’s biggest rising stars. The six fight main card airs on Fox Sports 1 starting at 10 p.m. ET. Four preliminary bouts will also be televised on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET. The first two fights for the live crowd will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass starting at 7 pm ET.

Due to the Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants game going into extra innings, the UFC Fight Night 53 has been pushed to FX. This change should bode well for the ratings as far more houses have FX than Fox Sports 1.

Main Card Summary

A quick touch of the gloves as the main event between hometown hero Rory MacDonald and former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine kicks off the main event. A big chant for MacDonald echoes from the rafter. Both men trade leg kicks in the center of the cage before MacDonald connects with a hard left jab.  Saffiedine attempts another leg kick but MacDonald catches it and secures the takedown. Saffiedine right back to his feet and lands some very loud leg kicks as the round comes to an end. Huge combination from MacDonald early in the second frame, causing Saffiedine’s eye to swell. Saffiedine right back to those leg kicks early in Round 3 but MacDonald plants a vicious left uppercut to the to chin, sending his opponent crumpling to the canvas. A visibly emotional MacDonald unloads a thunderous battle cry as he pounds his chest in triumph. This marks his first stoppage victory since his second round TKO over Che Mills at UFC 145 back in April 2012.

Rafael Assuncao landing some serious leg kicks early in the co-main event but Bryan Caraway continued to work inside as he looked to land uppercuts from within the clinch. Assuncao showed tremendous takedown defense against the fence and even connected an elbow before breaking apart. Cameras show a pretty serious cut over the eye of Caraway heading into the second round. Assuncao eats a head kick before Caraway secures the takedown in the center of the octagon. Assuncao right back to his feet and connects with a thunderous knee, followed by picture perfect spinning heel kick. The crowd is on their feet as both men trade kicks as Round 2 comes to an end. Assuncao stuffs another takedown early in the final round before clinching up against the fence. Another failed takedown attempt from Caraway as Assuncao takes advantage and looks to lock onto a guillotine. Caraway escapes and eats several hard knees to his already bloodied face. The bells signals the end for the end of the bout as both men raise their hand in triumph.

Laprise pushes the action early as he batters Cendeno’s mid-section with knees against the fence. Cendeno throwing some huge punches with his back against the fence before he gets dumped onto his butt, courtesy of a  Laprise takedown. The second round kicks off with Laprise attempting to secure another takedown but Cendeno scrambles free as he looks to land a series of leg kicks. Laprise answers right back with some leg kicks of his, forcing his opponent to switch stances in hopes of avoiding more damage. Laprise with another takedown and immediately secures back control in the center of the cage as Round 2 comes to an end. Cendeno stuck circling from the outside as Laprise picks apart his legs with kicks from the center before securing a takedown with a minute left in the fight. Cendeno manages to make it back to his feet but Laprise lands a massive duplex as he closes out a very dominant fight.

TUF Nations winner came in Elias Theodorou with a gameplan of battering his opponent Bruno Santos against the fence. Santos stubbled early but managed to secure a takedown and secure back control against the fence. Both men close the round trading blows in the center of the octagon. Santos continued to look for the overhand right early in the second frame but Theodorou countered by continuously clinching up against the fence. After repeatedly being countered Santos switches the game plan up and secures back control against the cage as he looks for the rear naked choke. Santos with an early trip in the beginning of third round but Theodorou scrambles back to his feet and unloads a crisp combination against the fence. The fight and round comes to end with both men fighting for position against the fence.

Nordin Taleb came out relying heavily on his lead jab as his opponent Li Jingliang countered with a series of leg kicks. Taleb attempted to clinch but his opponent exploded with a vicious combination capped off a with a picture perfect hip toss. A bloodied Taleb closed the round with a double leg takedown. Both men looked rather tentative to kick off Round 2 as the neither could find an answer to the others counter striking. Boos from the crowd began to trickle down into the octagon just as Taleb landed another takedown against the fence. Jingliang managed to make it right back to his feet before securing a takedown of his own from back control as the round comes to an end. Neither man seemed to have any sense of urgency as the continue to pepper each other with shots as the crowd around them falls silent. Taleb ends a very lackluster fight on top of Jingliang dropping quick elbows to his bloodied opponent.

No touch of the gloves as hometown hero Mitch Gagnon and Arizona native Roman Salazar kicked off the main card on FX. Salazar looked to close the distance early in order to secure a takedown but ate a hard shot from Gagnon. With his opponent stunned the Canadian rushed in and secured a takedown of his own and immediately scrambled into back control. Salazar tried in vein to squirm free but Gagnon had already sunk in the deep rear naked choke, forcing his opponent to tap. This gives Gagnon 11 career submission victories and pushes his win streak to four consecutive inside the octagon.

Rory MacDonald def. Tarec Saffiedine by TKO (punches). Round 3, 1:28
Raphael Assuncao def. Bryan Caraway by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Chad Laprise def. Yosdenis Cendeno by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Elias Theodorou def. Bruno Santos by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nordine Taleb def. Li Jingliang by split decisin (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Mitch Gagnon def. Roman Salazar by submission (rear naked choke). Round 1, 2:06
Daron Cruickshank def. Anthony Njokuani by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Jake Lindsey by submission (inverted triangle). Round 2, 3:22
Paul Felder def. Jason Saggo by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Chris Kelades def. Patrick Holohan by unanimous decision. (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Albert Tumenov def. Matt Dwyer by knockout (head kick and punches). Round 1, 1:03
Pedro Munhoz def. Jerrod Sanders by submission (guillotine). Round 1, 0:39

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About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.