Monday, July 13, 2015

Split Decision 7.13.15: UFC 189 Recap #UFC189

By @jddiantis

On a night many people are calling the greatest UFC event they have ever seen, we witnessed the continued reign of one champion and the possible dawning of a new one.  In sports, the mouths and characters of many of its participants often over hypes the actual product itself.  Last night was not one of those nights. 

The co-main event featured Robbie Lawler defending his welterweight title against Rory MacDonald in a rematch from November of 2013.  The fight began slowly with the two fighters trying to figure out their distances and strategy.  Both fighters had too much respect for each other to lose their discipline and get sloppy.   The second round is when the action picked up as Lawler continuously landed 1-2 jab-cross combinations and Rory started to land some of his own.  As the fight continued, so did Rory’s attack.  Round 3 saw Rory landing a head kick that rocked Lawler.
In the beginning of round 4 referee Big John McCarthy was actually looking for confirmation from Lawler that he could continue as he ate combinations up against the cage from MacDonald.  Both of these fighters were bloodied and bruised going into round 5.  One minute into the fifth round, Lawler sends a left cross right down the pipe and finishes Rory’s already broken nose.  Rory staggered back, touched his nose, and then fell backwards to protect himself.  It was as if someone turned on the faucet and blood started flowing out of his nose.  Big John McCarthy stepped in and called it.

Although Lawler was successful in his title defense, he also suffered major damage.  His knockout came at the perfect time as the ringside judges all had Rory up 39-37 through 4 rounds.  Lawler also went to the hospital a bruised mess and sported an upper lip that was literally ripped in half.  Dana White later that night said “When Rory got out back, they asked him what year is it and he didn’t know what year it was.” 

In the battle for interim featherweight champion, the often speaking Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes did not disappoint. Both fighters walked to the ring with their own live concerts and both were more than excited to punch each other in the face. 

Round one featured a lot of talking back and forth (mostly by McGregor) and some big shots by Mendes.  Mendes was able to use his wrestling to score two takedowns.  Once on the ground Mendes stayed active by dropping some big elbows, one of which cut McGregor over his right eye.   Standing up both fighters landed some big punches but Mendes looked noticeably fatigued. Mendes’ fatigue could’ve been from taking this fight on short notice, with only 2 weeks to train due to Jose Aldo pulling out with an injury. Or he could’ve been so amped up for this fight that he crashed after his adrenaline high came down. 

Round 2 featured Mendes continuing to exchange with McGregor and mixing in takedown attempts.  Chad scored another takedown and tried to pull guard to finish a guillotine choke but wasn’t able to wrap his legs around Conor.  McGregor gets up and once both are standing again begins to land some big punches that put Mendes up against the cage and eventually into a defensive fetal position.  After Conor threw a couple more punches Herb Dean stopped the fight with 3 seconds left in the second round and awarded Conor McGregor the interim featherweight championship.

Personally I thought it was a quick stoppage.  The fighters and ref know when there is ten seconds left, so Mendes could’ve been just covering till the end of the round.  Although hurt, Chad wasn’t KO’d and I have seen fighters get to the end of a round on the receiving end of much more damage than Mendes.  I was most impressed with McGregor’s chin as Mendes landed some absolute bombs.  Chad didn’t seem to have a problem with the stoppage, so I’m not going to complain too much.  I still think it was quick and they should’ve come out for round 3, especially considering Mendes was winning the fight. 

So often we hear about not getting our money’s worth for the hefty fee the UFC charges for these pay-per-views.  Last night was not one of "those" pay-per-views.  All four fighters in the main events left everything they had in the octagon. Although winners and losers were labeled, none of these men should hang their heads.  Many times these post fight recaps complain of a night of disappointment and letdown.  

Last night was not one of those nights.  

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