The buzz throughout the arena on Saturday night in Las Vegas was
that Canadian prospect Rory MacDonald was the next big thing,
cruising towards a title shot after a win at UFC 167.
Robbie Lawler had a different plan.
The 12-year veteran came into the bout on a two-fight win streak
since returning to the UFC as a welterweight and he wasn’t about to
let the odds keep him from picking up one of the biggest wins of
his career. Those odds, by the way, were all the up to four to one
by the time the fighters stepped into the cage.
MacDonald came out fighting a tactical and technical battle
early, looking to use his right kick to back Lawler off from using
his power punches. The Tristar product mixed up his attacks
throughout the fight, tossing out a straight jab and then throwing
his kick while also landing a few takedowns as well.
None of it rattled Lawler or deterred him from his ultimate plan
of throwing the head shot that would take MacDonald out once and
for all. After a hard fought, back and forth battle through a very
close first two rounds, Lawler came out as the aggressor in round
three absolutely looking to maul MacDonald and never giving him a
second to breathe.
Lawler attacked relentlessly as MacDonald’s face started to see
the effects of his opponent’s punches. The former Strikeforce
fighter tagged MacDonald with a huge right that staggered his
opponent, but it was one of his signature titanic left hands that
sent the 24-year old fighter to the mat. With a huge flurry of
punches, Lawler tried to put the fight away, but MacDonald was able
to survive. As the seconds wound down, MacDonald was able to grab
one last takedown and tried to land some elbows to even up the
score, but the damage was already done.
When the judges returned their tallies the scores read 29-28
Lawler, 29-28, MacDonald and 29-28 Lawler — the split
decision nod landing in the underdog’s corner.
Lawler is now a flawless 3-0 in the welterweight division while
arguably picking up the biggest win of his career by beating a top
three fighter in MacDonald. The long time UFC fighter can now start
looking at the upper echelon of the division with a title fight in
sight after a victory over MacDonald at UFC 167.
MacDonald (15-2) suffers only the second loss of his career and
at least for the time being no longer has to worry about possibly
being forced to face his friend and teammate Georges St-Pierre with
the welterweight title on the line.