Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald went to war at UFC 189. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
With so many spectacular fights, finishes and drama at UFC 189, it was probably tough for the company’s brass to figure out which four fighters should take home $50,000 bonuses. In the end, two of the promotion’s champs, one challenger and a contender nabbed additional paychecks.
In what has instantly been labeled one of the most thrilling fights in the UFC’s recent history, welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Rory MacDonald tore into each other long enough to share the “Fight of the Night” honors. Lawler appeared to be on his way to a dominant win when he bloodied and busted MacDonald up to pieces, but the Canadian rocked the “Ruthless” one with a head kick in the third. Lawler was almost stopped a few times but eventually poured on the punishment, shattered Rory’s nose and earned a fifth round stoppage win.
New UFC interim featherweight champ Conor McGregor survived a few minor scares against Chad Mendes and eventually took out the late replacement in the second frame. “The Notorious” rocked Mendes with a sharp left hand after he escaped a guillotine attempt and then proceeded to unload on “Money” until the Team Alpha Male fighter was finished. The stoppage earned McGregor one of the two “Performance of the Night” bonuses.
Thomas Almeida was getting picked apart by Brad Pickett, but early in the second round, he unfurled a hellacious flying knee. Once it detonated on Pickett’s chin, the Englishman fell flat on his back. The highlight reel KO earned Almeida the other “Performance” bonus.