Gleison Tibau doesn’t see how Rory MacDonald would have won at PFL 5, vows to KO him in rematch

Gleison Tibau won a split decision over fellow UFC veteran Rory MacDonald in the main event of PFL 5. | Cooper Neill, PFL

Gleison Tibau had his hand raised after 15 minutes of fighting Rory MacDonald in the main event of Thursday night’s PFL 5 in Atlantic City, leading to the Canadian star calling the split decision “a clear robbery.”

Even though the Brazilian veteran admits he was surprised by the fact that MacDonald was able to secure a takedown and take his back during the three-round contest, Tibau doesn’t feel the former Bellator welterweight champion had done enough to go home with the victory.

Tibau revealed he didn’t fought the way he usually does because he tore his biceps four weeks before PFL 5, and considered pulling out of the fight.

“I was very comfortable in the fight, and I saw I could have done more,” Tibau said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I had the tools to do more. I pulled the brakes a little bit, I could have done more. It was a tough win, a difficult one, but we got it.”

“He’s a legend in Canada, an idol in Canada, and it’s normal that a country would have his back,” he said of the judging controversy. “But, watching the fight, I can’t give him the [win]. It wasn’t an easy fight, we know it was a tough one, but I was way more effective with my strikes, hunting him down. He was kind of running away a little bit. I think it couldn’t have been a different result.”

MacDonald advanced to the welterweight playoffs despite the defeat, and Tibau believes the Canadian can go on to win the million-dollar prize in the end.

Tibau says PFL president Ray Sefo promised him a contract for the 2022 season before the official decision was read on Thursday, and he’s currently booked to face Sadibou Sy in a non-playoff bout at PFL 8 in Hollywood, Fla., on Aug. 19.

MacDonald will face Ray Cooper III in the semifinals, while Joao Zeferino battles Magomed Magomedkerimov for the second spot in the finals. If victorious at PFL 8, Tibau believes he can end up in the 2021 finals if one of those four welterweights get injured.

“Next time I’ll knock him out,” Tibau said of a potential rematch with MacDonald. “I already know the path. I felt I could have knocked him out. He wouldn’t have handled the pressure If we were in a five-round fight. He already wanted the fight to be over. I felt that.”

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