At UFC 145 on Sunday, the Bantamweight division found a new and much-needed contender for the championship conversation. Modesto native Michael McDonald solidified his stock as young phenom with a flash first-round knockout of Angel Torres. McDonald won his fourth UFC fight (and fifth Zuffa fight) as he laid Torres out cold with a right uppercut at 3:18.
McDonald, who now holds a 15-1 record at age 21, hasn't lost a fight in three years. He looked impressive against Torres, who is on the decline but far from a tomato can. In McDonald's highest-profile fight to date, he made himself a contender in a division that is sorely lacking in legitimate threats to the title. Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz will have a rematch against the division's biggest star, Urijah Faber, in July, but beyond that, the only name realistically in the mix is the 28-1 Renan Barao. There's a steep drop-off after Barao to the other names in the division. Until last night, anyway.
McDonald has looked sharp in all five of his Zuffa fights, with two knockouts and a victory by submission. With another win or two, he will almost certainly be next in line after Barao for the title.