A welterweight matchup between top contenders Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley is being targeted for UFC 174 at Rogers Arena June 14 in Vancouver.
The potential tilt, which was first reported by UFC Tonight, would likely serve as a No. 1 contender’s match with the winner facing new 170-pound champion Johny Hendricks, who recently underwent biceps surgery but expects to return sometime between September and November.
MacDonald (16-2) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia at UFC 170 in February. The 24-year-old currently lives and trains in Montreal, but was born and raised in British Columbia. MacDonald hasn’t fought in his home province since a 2010 loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 115 – the first event the UFC held in Vancouver.
Woodley (13-2) became the first person to pick up a TKO win over former interim champ Carlos Condit in his last outing at UFC 171. The former Strikeforce star has three stoppage wins in four UFC appearances with his lone loss in the Octagon being a controversial split decision to Jake Shields.
Vancouver has hosted two UFC events in the past but hasn’t been to the city since UFC 131, which took place in June 2011 during a two-year trial period for MMA in the province. Following that event, the promotion avoided holding shows in Vancouver due to logistical obstacles including difficult insurance rates among requirements that have since been modified.
“Now we’re in a position where we can return and we’re very much looking forward to it,” Tom Wright, UFC director of operations for Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said at a January press conference. “Vancouver’s been a great city for us, it’s a great MMA market for us — all of Western Canada is.”
UFC 174 is a pay-per-view event, so even though MacDonald is one of the fastest-rising stars in the UFC a matchup with Woodley isn’t expected to headline the event.
The UFC has yet to announce a headliner and has not made the MacDonald-Woodley matchup official.
Other fights set to take place at UFC 174 include bantamweight bouts Yves Jabouin vs Mike Easton and Roland Delorme vs Michiniori Tanaka, plus a middleweight fight between Daniel Sarafian and Kiichi Kunimoto.