Now that the prelims are over for UFC 189, it’s time to move to the main card and not one, but two title fights…
In the headliner, Conor McGregor will take on Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight title. In the co-headliner, welterweight champ Robbie Lawler will rematch Rory MacDonald. The two met before in 2013, and Lawler won the fight via split decision.
Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett
Round 1: Pickett with a right that’s blocked. Almeida comes in and gets hit with a counter. Almeida with a nice inside leg kick. Pickett with a left. Wow. Almeida eats a hard left hook. Almeida comes in but gets sent to the mat by a hook. Wow. Almeida gets up but Pickett takes him down. A knee sends Almeida to the floor. The latter hunts for a leg lock and the fight’s back up. Almeida is cut up. Pickett lands a nice right. Crazy. Pickett gets dropped by a right hand but he’s back up. Spinning elbow from Almeida. Fantastic action. Almeida with a nice combo. Latter throws a knee but takes a right in return. Round ends.
Replay shows that it was standing elbow that sent Pickett down.
Round 2: Pickett attempts a flying knee. This is nuts. Almeida throws a cracking flying knee in return which floors Pickett instantly. Ref jumps in to save Pickett from a follow up shot. To Pickett’s credit, he got back up pretty quickly from what was a ridiculous knee.
Thomas Almeida def. Brad Pickett via KO (flying knee) R2, 0:29
Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch
Round 1: Thatch is staying light on his feet. Nelson has more of a Karate stance. Both men fire shots, briefly clinch up. Wow. Nelson blasts in and floors Thatch with a combo. Thatch is trying to work out from the bottom but Nelson moves to mount. Nelson looks for an Americana. Thatch gives up his back. Nelson sinks in a rear-naked-choke and that’s a wrap. What a performance from Nelson.
Gunnar Nelson def. Brandon Thatch via submission (rear-naked-choke) R1, 2:54
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Round 1: Bermudez shoots in but Stephens stuffs the TD. Stephens fires an uppercut and Bermudez shoots in. Stephens defends but is cut. Latter takes a shot in the ensuing exchange. Berumudez has Stephens up against the cage but takes a knee. Bermudez finally gets the TD. Bermudez is working to take Stephens back, is landing punches from above. Stephens’ cut is by his right eye and it’s streaming blood. Joe Rogan just said truck told him cut was from a headbutt. Stephens is back to his feet and his face is a mask of blood. Wow. Both featherweights chuck bombs. Bermudez shoots again but is denied. Stephens attempts a spinning elbow but it misses. Round ends.
Round 2: Stephens with a thumping leg kick. That was nasty. Bermudez lands a right but is clipped coming in. Stephens fires off a knee and then plants another right. Bermudez clinches up. Bermudez comes in but takes a left. Bermudez’s leg may be damaged. Stephens sends Bermudez to the mat momentarily with a hard shot. Latter gets up and throws a front kick to the body that pushes Stephens to the mat. Frantic pace continues. Bermudez pushes Stephens to the cage. Bermudez with a leg kick. Now Stephens shoots in but can’t complete it. Round ends.
Round 3: Bermudez lands a couple of leg kicks. Wow. Stephens sends Bermudez crashing to the mat with a leaping knee. After several more follow up shots the fight is stopped. Unbelievable finish.
Jeremy Stephens def. Dennis Bermudez via TKO (flying knee and punches) R3, 0:32
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald
Round 1: Alright–this is for the welterweight belt. MacDonald is keeping busy with kicks and punches. Lawler with a nice straight left. Lawler with a leg kick. MacDonald is fighting long, keeping his distance. Not much going on. Both men are cautious. MacDonald continues to fire kicks. Latter attempts to shoot but Lawler defends, and fires back with a knee. Lawler plants a right hand. Round ends.
Round 2: MacDonald with another kick to the body. Lawler lands a right. MacDonald plants a stiff jab. Lawler fires a right hand and MacDonald returns with a combo. Volume is still pretty low. MacDonald with another kick to the body. MacDonald wings a headkick but Lawler blocks it. Both men are starting to wear the shots. Lawler with a hard 1-2. MacDonald fires back but is cut. Now Lawler is picking up the pace. MacDonald throws some shots in return but is really bloodied up now. More shots from Lawler. MacDonald attempts an elbow but eats a counter. Round ends.
Round 3: MacDonald plants a nice jab. MacDonald fires hard punches but eats a hard counter. Lawler with a hard straight and follows up with a kick attempt. MacDonald shoots in but can’t get it and takes some shots. Latter’s face is a bloody mess. MacDonald threatens with a head kick. Lawler lands a counter. MacDonald fires a straight right. Wow. MacDonald staggers Lawler with a head kick. Follows up with a flying knee. Lawler’s hurt bad. MacDonald is pouring on strikes but Lawler fires back, and survives. Round ends. Crazy.
Round 4: Another kick from MacDonald and Lawler is staggered. MacDonald is firing in knees and punches. Lawler tells the “Big” John McCarthy that he’s “fine”. Now Lawler is attempting to return shots. MacDonald changes levels but abandons the TD. Lawler is moving forward again. Another straight right and head kick attempt from MacDonald. Lawler is landing standing elbows here and there. Wow. Both guys fire huge shots. Lawler is also bloodied up. Another TD attempt from MacDonald is easily defended by Lawler. The champ lands a left. And another. MacDonald attempts another head kick. Round ends. Wow. Both men, bloody messes, stand and stare at each other after the round concludes.
Round 5: Both men are keeping busy. Lawler wobbles MacDonald with a left. Crazy. Lawler cracks MacDonald with another shot to his battered nose and the challenger crumples to the mat. McCarthy stops the fight. What a gory, epic fight.
Robbie Lawler def. Rory MacDonald via TKO (punches) R5, 1:00
Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes
Round 1: For the interim featherweight title; let’s do this. McGregor is already talking trash. McGregor fires a kick and ends up on his back. McGregor eats a right but gets to his feet. Another left from Mendes. McGregor chucks a kick and lands a left. Another left from McGregor. More kicks from McGregor. Good 1-2 from Mendes. Latter is breathing heavy already. Mendes shoots in and gets the TD. McGregor gets up and out but is cut. Mendes wings a huge right. Another from Mendes. McGregor lands a hard left to the body. Mendes digs to the body. Beautiful TD from Mendes. Latter passes into half guard. Elbow from Mendes. McGregor is bleeding quite a bit. Mendes receives warning for putting fingers in cut. Crazy round.
Round 2: McGregor is still taunting. McGregor is keeping busy with kicks. Spinning kick to the body of Mendes. Latter shoots in but can’t get TD. Hard left from McGregor. Another TD from Mendes and an elbow from above. Another elbow. Big punch from Mendes. McGregor throws a couple of elbows from below. Mendes throws another elbow but isn’t trying to pass. McGregor starts chucking elbows like crazy. Mendes lands another right from above. Cracking elbow from Mendes. McGregor may be asking Herb Dean to stand them up. Now Mendes passes. “Money” drops for a choke but McGregor gets out. Big right from Mendes and has a TD attempt stuffed. McGregor wings in some hard shots. A huge left from McGregor sends Mendes down and the bout is stopped shortly after. What a crazy finish.
Mendes goes over and congratulates McGregor; they embrace. Latter holds up hand of Mendes.
Conor McGregor def. Chad Mendes via TKO (punches) R2, 4:57