MMA Crossfire – UFC Fight Night 54: MacDonald vs Saffiedine predictions

While Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story face off in Stockholm, Eastern Canada welcomes favourite son #2 Rory MacDonald and #9 challenger Tarec Sadffiedine to Halifax.

Both looked good in their previous victories and the big question has been how  MacDonald will be able to get inside and avoid the leg kicks of The Sponge.

The surging MacDonald cannot afford a loss to derail his title chances while this is a glorious opportunity to leapfrog the welterweight crowd and sneak into the title conversation.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

MMA Crossfire

MMA Crossfire Experts Cassie Wiseman and Kenai Andrews once again check in on the main card matchups.

Cassie Wiseman

MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman. She is a martial artist with over six years of study. Training primarily in South Korea, the proud Canadian from Roberts Arm, Newfoundland has black belts in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and proficient in Muay Thai kickboxing. Image courtesy Steve Bartlett

In case you missed the weigh-ins:

http://www.ufc.ca/media/fight-night-halifax-weigh-in/embed?width=560&height=315

MITCH GAGNON (11-2-0) VS ROMAN “ROMAN EL GALLITO” (9-2-0)

UFC Fight Night

Mitch Gagnon and Roman Salazar face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: There’s no question where this fight will end up. Gagnon will welcome Salazar into the UFC with a wonderful choke. The submission game of Gagnon is incredible. Salazar is a well-rounded fighter, but the speed, transitions, and patience of Gagnon will put him on the winning side.

Wiseman Prediction: Mitch Gagnon via submission.

NORDINE TALEB (9-2-0) VS LI “THE LEECH” JINGLIANG (9-2-0)

UFC Fight Night

Nordine Taleb and Li Jingliang face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: My fear in this match is that Jingliang will let Taleb pull him into a pure striking match. While he has KO power of his own, Taleb has a huge striking advantage. Jingliang would be wise to stick to his gameplan, strike to set up a takedown to bring Taleb into waters he isn’t comfortable in. Taleb is hard to take down, but it’s the safer plan for Jingliang. Taleb, with his power and aggression will look to end this extremely fast.

Wiseman Prediction: Nordine Taleb via TKO.

ELIAS “THE SPARTAN” THEODOROU (9-0-0) VS BRUNO “CARLOCA” SANTOS (14-1-0)

UFC Fight Night

Elias Theodorou and Bruno Santos face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: This is going to be all Theodorou. The power, speed, movement, reach advantage, takedown advantage, etc. The list goes on with ways Theodorou will win. He is the more well-rounded and skilled fighter. I just see this ending very quickly as Santos just doesn’t have the tools to match Theodorou.

Wiseman Prediction: Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou via TKO.

CHAD “THE  DISCIPLE” LAPRISE (9-0-0) VS YOSDENIS “THE PINK PANTHER” CEDENO (10-3-0)

UFC Fight Night

Chad Laprise and Yosdenis Cedeno face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: When it comes to power, these guys have it. Laprise is the smarter fighter though which I see making all the difference. Cedeno tends to come out with a ton of confidence and just swing. Laprise is able to keep his wits with him, put the plan in place, and use very accurate striking to counter.

Wiseman Prediction: Chad “The Disciple” via unanimous decision.

#4 RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO (21-4-0) VS #10 BRYAN “KID LIGHTNING” CARAWAY (19-7-0)

UFC Fight Night

Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway face-off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: The size advantage and power will be the biggest weapons for Assuncao. On the mat they are both talented, but Assuncao’s ability to power through holds and takedown attempts will make a difference. The biggest worry for Assuncao would be cardiowise. Caraway being the smaller of the two will have less to be concerned around when it comes to muscle groups wearing down. Assuncao is a very big 135 pounder which is a negative in cardio land, but if he is on top of Caraway it will give him an edge.

Wiseman Prediction: Raphael Assuncao via submission.

MAIN EVENT

#2 RORY “ARES” MACDONALD (17-2-0) VS #9 TAREC “THE SPONGE” SAFFIEDINE (15-3-0)

UFC Fight Night

Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Scotiabank Centre on October 3, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Wiseman: The problem with anyone fighting Rory is that he is able to fight long. Saffiedine will need to pressure him to force him against the cage, limit his movement like Robbie Lawler did. If Rory is able to get things going, he will fight very long, throw kicks to do damage from a distance, and get in and out of the pocket easily without getting hit. Saffiedine will need to stay focused and bring his best aggressive game. Rory, just needs to be the fighter that he is most of the time. Rory vs. Jake Ellenberger, terrible. Rory vs. Robbie Lawler, awful. Rory is talented when he is on, so if he shows up against Saffiedine it will be an entertaining fight.

Wiseman Prediction: Rory “Ares” MacDonald via TKO.

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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