It was old school vs. new at tonight's (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) UFC 167: "St. Pierre vs. Hendricks" pay-per-view (PPV) event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as veteran knockout artist Robbie Lawler battled rising star Rory MacDonald.
Lawler opened aggressively, firing off combinations just as soon as they met in the center of the cage. MacDonald stayed calm in the face of multiple leg kicks and straight left hands, circling out and keeping distance to avoid taking hard shots from his power punching foe.
The first round was even thanks to extreme patience from both fighters. "Ares" attacked with kicks from the outside while "Ruthless" picked his spots to jump in with punches and kicks.
MacDonald opened the second with a takedown attempt. It failed. Lawler fired back with a kick that Rory caught but again there was no takedown and the two continued exchanging punches but mostly kicks.
The Canadian opened up a bit as the round wore on, getting closer and closer while landing more and more shots to the body. They appeared to be taking a toll, too, and the takedown attempt that followed was successful. Absolutely nothing came of it, though.
Headed for the final frame, it was close but MacDonald was doing enough that Lawler's corner told him he badly needed to win the third round.
That's why he came out firing away with a hard uppercut that did some damage before a big knee that just missed. MacDonald timed it perfectly and scored a takedown on it too, content to sit in guard and recover from the hard shots he took to open the round.
He did so little, though, that the referee stood them up. It was there that Lawler landed a few more big punches and clearly had "Ares" hurt. Another takedown from the Canadian saved him from further damage but Robbie stepped back and they went at it standing again.
An eye poke briefly stopped the action but once they got back at it, Lawler rocked MacDonald with even more punches, one that scored a knockdown. The follow up shots were brutal and very nearly caused a stoppage.
MacDonald attempted a last minute submission but Robbie was too good and got out of it. Rory ended the fight with a takedown and some elbows at the horn.
A really close, back-and-forth affair was left to the judges.
The scores: 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28, all in favor of Lawler.
For complete UFC 167 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.