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Free Fight: Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald put on instant classic at UFC 189 (video)

In 2015, Robbie Lawler – who was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (FC) Welterweight champion at the time – and Rory MacDonald hooked them up for the second time at UFC 189 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two years prior, “Ruthless” escaped with a split-decision win over “Red King,” so Robbie’s confidence was high while MacDonald had revenge on his mind.

What ensued at UFC 189 was one of the best fights in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), as the two brawlers engaged in an all-out striking war for the ages that nearly went all 25 minutes. Indeed, the two men exchanged blows throughout the bout, but it was clear Lawler was getting the best of the exchanges, busting up Rory’s nose mid-way through round two, leaving him a bloody mess throughout the rest of the fight.

But in the closing moments of round three, MacDonald had Lawler reeling, nearly finishing him off before the horn saved the champ. At the start of round four, MacDonald once again dazes “Ruthless,” but the heart of a champion persevered, as Robbie weathered the storm and continued his own vicious onslaught. With both men battered, bruised and bloodied up, they never waivered, as they continued to pile on the punches on each other, much to the crowd’s delight

In round five, however, the pain became too much for MacDonald, as he crumbled to the canvas after Lawler hit him with a clean right hand on his already-broken nose, forcing John McCarthy to put an end to the fight with a minute left. The thrilling championship rematch not only won “Fight of the Night” honors, but earned best fight of all time according to this poll.

That would prove to be one of MacDonald’s final fights inside the Octagon, as he bolted for Bellator MMA following his loss to Stephen Thompson. He has since won and lost the promotion’s Welterweight strap. Robbie, meanwhile, would eventually go on to lose his title to Tyron Woodley via knockout, going 2-4 since his epic war against “Red King.”

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