UFC 189's "Fight of the Night" was an absolute classic.
The co-main between Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald turned into one of the greatest and bloodiest 170-pound title fights in the history of the promotion last night (Sat., July 11, 2015) inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It had all the makings of a historic fight and all the components that a "Fight of the Night" bonus should merit: Swings in momentum, both fighters showcasing a high threshold for pain and a whole lot of blood (highlights).
Lawler looked outstanding early on and it appeared as if he might cruise to a decision victory. However, MacDonald rang his bell with a high kick at the end of the third round, which had Lawler on the ropes and badly hurt.
MacDonald was in clear control of the fight in third and fourth rounds.
But, in the fifth and final frame, Lawler -- who had the experience of two five-round wars with Johnny Hendricks -- dug deep and landed a huge left on the Canadians nose (which broke earlier in the match), leaving him writhing in pain and holding his face as he slumped to the canvas.
He was done.
Had "Ruthless" not sealed the deal, he may have lost the belt because MacDonald was leading on all three judges scorecards heading into round five.
At the UFC 189 post-fight presser, UFC president Dana White agreed that Jeremy Stephens finish over Dennis Bermudez was a great fight, too, but not quite as great as Lawler taking MacDonald out in the fifth round.
He gave the reasons that the UFC 189 co-main fit the prerequisite for "Fight of the Night" winner.
"What I take into account in that fight if you look at Rory MacDonald, nose was broken in the first round, couldn't breathe, couldn't see, continued to fight, right? and it's looking like a one-sided clinic," White said. "Then he hurts Robbie Lawler, right? Then he follows up with like 10 head kicks to the head and doesn't finish Lawler. Lawler hangs in there and makes it through that.
"Then, I had it two to two going into the fifth round. The judges had it three and other people that I talked to in the back had it three. I'm not a judge so who gives a shit what I think, but I had it two to two going into the last round with both guys had to feel like ‘I have to win this last round.' Both guys unbelievably hurt and then you see the outcome."
After the fight both the welterweight champion and MacDonald were worse for wear and unable to attend the UFC 189 post-fight presser. In fact both took a trip straight to the hospital. After the fight Lawler had a nasty cut on his lip, giving him a smile reminiscent of Heath Ledger's Joker from "The Dark Knight."
MacDonald suffered a broken nose and foot (see what he looks like today).
White, who at the start of the presser called the co-main event "Fight of the ever," touched on the champs lip and revealed that on top of the broken nose he suffered, MacDonald did not have all his wits about him after the fight either.
"Robbie Lawler's lip," he exclaimed. "If you could've been in the Octagon and saw this lip, okay? He would talk and this part of the lip would move and the other part wouldn't, right? What's his name's nose was broken. They asked him ... When Rory got out back, they said ‘what year is it?' And he didn't know what year it was. You know what I mean? It was a complete display... First of all it was a war and a complete display of chin, heart, grit, dogged determination and the will to win from both guys. I mean when you talk about a fight -- like I said, fight ever -- that's what I'm talking about."
For complete results from UFC 189: "Mendes vs. McGregor," including play-by-play updates, click here.