The co-main event saw Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler take on #2 Rory MacDonald. The fight started in a cautious manner, with both fighters working their way into it; I think Lawler just shaded the round with slightly better strikes. Round 2 was quite similar, but Lawler was a clearer winner of the round as some clean lefts opened up MacDonald. Lawler continued his good work in the third, but MacDonald had a fantastic closing minute and wobbled Lawler with some head kicks and could possibly have ended the fight if the round had gone on for an extra 30 seconds; I gave the round to MacDonald. The fourth round remained close, but MacDonald started well and his head kicks remained a constant threat and probably won the round. Going into the final round, I had it level at 2 rounds apiece, so it was a crucial final round, with the winner of the round probably being declared the winner via the judges. However, the fight did not reach the judges as a series of punches from Lawler to MacDonald’s already broken nose put him down and saw Lawler retain the title after an excellent, but brutal, fight.
The main event saw Chad Mendes (#1) fight Conor McGregor (#3) for the interim Featherweight title after the Champion, Jose Aldo, pulled out of his scheduled fight with McGregor. The first round was quite close, with McGregor landing strikes and taunting Mendes, but Mendes took McGregor down in the last minute and might just have shaded the round as a result. Mendes took McGregor down early in the second round and stayed there for most of the round. When it returned to standing, McGregor put Mendes down with a series of punches and became the Interim Featherweight Champion.
UFC 189 was a strong card with 5 excellent fights, none of which required a decision from the judges. In the Welterweight division, Lawler V Hendricks 3 seems likely, although after his fight with MacDonald, there is likely to be strong demand for Lawler V MacDonald 3. There had been a lot of build-up to Aldo V McGregor and with McGregor now the interim champion and Aldo the champion, that fight will happen and surely be even bigger than it was ahead of UFC 189.