Nearly a year after the UFC absorbed the WEC and introduced bantamweights to mainstream MMA, the seeds planted throughout the past 11 months are nearly ready for harvest. One of the fastest growing "plants" is 20-year-old Michael McDonald.
McDonald (14-1) was flawless in a 56-second knockout win over the debuting Alex Soto, a picture-perfect way for the Spike portion of UFC 139 to begin.
While Soto was amped up and on the attack early, McDonald used a counter right to make him pay every time he jumped in. Following a Soto leg kick, McDonald answered with a counter right that dropped him. McDonald swarmed and continued the full cage press, dropping Soto again with a right uppercut and knocking him cold with another as he slumped against the cage.
The crowd went nuts and rightfully so -- a future star was being created in front of their eyes. The win was enough to earn McDonald $70,000 for Knockout Of The Night. By the way he destroyed Soto, it won't be the last bonus he earns.
What was the highlight of the fight?
McDonald's right-hand uppercuts to a fast-fading Soto were the standout. The first knocked Soto silly and the second knocked him out in eyes-rolling-back-in-head fashion. Without a doubt, this fight will be featured in both year-end and future Ultimate Knockout compilations. It was that good.
What's next for both fighters?
McDonald needs to keep fighting up-and-comers like himself. While the Eddie Winelands and Joseph Benavidez-types are still a few wins away, Jeff Hougland or another new signee like Soto would be wise. January on either Fox or FX would be a great showcase for another explosive performance for the new California kid.
Soto (6-1-1) simply got too excited and is probably kicking himself for not exhibiting a little more patience. There's really not enough to go on to warrant a return engagement or a cut, but assume he'll get another opportunity to get his first UFC win.
Watch now, later or never?
Watch it now. I bet you can find a minute in your day to do so.
More BE coverage of UFC 139 in the full entry.
UFC 139 Results: FightMetric Scores Shogun vs. Henderson a Draw - Tim Burke
UFC 139 Results: The Resurgence Of Stephan Bonnar - Josh Nason
UFC 139 Results: Urijah Faber Earns Title Shot, Possible TUF Slot Against Dominick Cruz - Anton Tabuena
UFC 139 Shogun vs Henderson Results: Winners, Losers, and Other Thoughts - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua Becomes the Ultimate Persuader - Leland Roling
UFC 139 Video: Full Post-Fight Press Conference Video For Shogun vs Henderson - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Dan Henderson vs Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua Fight Video Highlights - Leland Roling
UFC 139: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua Results and Post-Fight Analysis - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 139 Post-Fight Press Conference Coverage - Tim Burke
Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 102: UFC 139 Results Review - Matt Bishop
UFC 139 Results: Dan Henderson Wins Decisions Over Shogun Rua In An Absolute Classic - Matt Roth
UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - Live Results and Play-By-Play for PPV Broadcast - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 139 Results: Wanderlei Silva Knocks Out Cung Le In The Second Round - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Urijah Faber Chokes Brian Bowles Out With A Guillotine - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Martin Kampmann Edges Rick Story with Split Decision Victory - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Stephan Bonnar Dominates Kyle Kingsbury To Unanimous Decision - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Ryan Bader Knocks Out Jason Brilz In The First - Matt Roth
UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - Live Results and Play-By-Play for Spike TV Broadcast - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 139 Results: Michael McDonald Knocks Alex Soto Out In The First Round - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Chris Weidman Sinks In D'arce Choke to Beat Tom Lawlor - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Gleison Tibau Wins Split Decision Over Rafael dos Anjos - Matt Roth
UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - Live Results and Play-By-Play for Facebook Stream - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 139 Results: Miguel Torres Puts On A Clinic Against Nick Pace - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Seth Baczynski Finishes Matt Brown Early In The Second - Matt Roth
UFC 139 Results: Danny Castillo Finishes Shamar Bailey With Punches - Matt Roth