More than a year after signing with the PFL, Rory MacDonald was victorious in his highly anticipated debut.
The former UFC contender submitted Curtis Millender with a rear-naked choke at the 3:38 mark of the first round in the PFL 2 main event Thursday at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
MacDonald earned six points under the PFL's season format with the win and moved into second in the welterweight standings.
"I put in a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice over 2020 and this year," MacDonald said in his postfight interview. "So I'm really glad to be here and have a good performance like that."
After exchanging strikes with Millender in the fight's first two minutes, MacDonald secured a takedown and quickly took control of his opponent's back. The 31-year-old sunk in the choke after landing heel kicks to Millender's thigh and briefly opening up his own body lock. MacDonald said afterward the move was a distraction so Millender would try to scramble to his feet.
MacDonald, a former UFC title challenger and Bellator champion, returned to the cage for the first time since October 2019 and earned his first victory since June 2019.
Millender, a fellow former UFC and Bellator fighter who also made his PFL debut, has now lost two straight fights.