MacDonald tops The Punisher at UFC 88

ATLANTA — Canadian middleweight Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald of Red Deer rebounded from a loss last month to submit Jason (The Punisher) Lambert in the second round at UFC 88 on Saturday night at Philips Arena.

ATLANTA — Canadian middleweight Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald of Red Deer rebounded from a loss last month to submit Jason (The Punisher) Lambert in the second round at UFC 88 on Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The mixed martial arts fight was on the undercard of the light-heavyweight bout between former champion Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell and Rashad Evans, winner of Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show.

The card was the UFC’s first in Georgia.

MacDonald (22-10, including 5-3 in the UFC) started and ended the first round defending guillotine chokes, with the one at the end of the round halted by the bell. In between he managed some decent ground and pound from on top of Lambert (23-9) and all three judges gave the round to the 185-pounder.

“It was pretty tight but my head was facing the (arena) screen and I knew I could hold my breath for six seconds,” MacDonald said of the second choke attempt.

It was all MacDonald in the second, as the choke attempts seemed to take its toll on Lambert, who moved down a weight class for the bout. After an exchange of punches, the two went to the ground. MacDonald got the mount and, when Lambert tried to roll out, took his back and applied a rear naked choke at 1:20.

MacDonald, 33, took the fight on just three weeks notice after fellow Albertan Jason (Dooms) Day was injured in training. MacDonald was coming off a submission loss to Brazilian Demian Maia at UFC 87 on Aug. 9 — a setback that came with nine stitches as a souvenir — and saw the quick turnaround as a way of getting the taste of the loss out of his mouth.

With three losses in his last four UFC fights, Lambert was also mighty motivated in his first time out at middleweight after campaigning as a light-heavyweight and heavyweight.

Both fighters have been on the right side of the law in the past. MacDonald is a former correctional officer while Lambert used to teach firearms and defensive tactics in California with the San Bernadino Sheriffs’ Department.

Earlier, lightweight Kurt Pellegrino (18-4) won a unanimous decision over Brazil’s Thiago Tavares (17-3) in a fight that saw Tavares take a terrible beating in the first round and yet somehow survive.

Pellegrino floored Tavares twice early on, hammered him from above and then carved his face open with elbows. Montreal referee Yves Lavigne elected not to stop the fight and the round ended with a bloody canvas and Pellegrino’s dyed blond hair was red in parts. The Brazilian looked like a human car crash.

Tavares came out for the second with his eyebrows slathered in Vaseline for cuts. But it was Pellegrino hurting after taking an inadvertent finger in the eye. Tavares took him down later in the round and had to fight off an armbar, with replays appearing to show he tapped out. But Lavigne did not see it and Tavares scored from above as the round ended. A game Tavares kept fighting back in the third, but Pellegrino maintained his edge.

Pellegrino said going into the bout that he viewed Tavares as a four-bedroom house because that was what he was going to use his winnings to buy.