Round 1 – Lawler starts quickly with a few snapping leg kicks. MacDonald patient from distance as he holds the center. MacDonald tries to change levels for a takedown. Lawler stuffs it. Front kick for MacDonald. He’s patient early, trying to keep some space. Lawler kicks the leg again. Pace settles. MacDonald stalking. Lawler continues with the kicks. MacDonald using his long jab. Lawler just misses as he rushes forward. Lawler beginning to load up on the left. It’s not quite there, but he’s pressing. Crowd behind MacDonald, chanting his name. MacDonald catches a kick but can’t quite capitalize. He does it again, but Lawler pulls free. Round ends there, and MMAjunkie gives it to Lawler, 10-9.
Round 2 – Quick pace to start. Both look ready to explode, but they quickly back away and settle into the familiar rhythm. Southpaw Lawler hanging his lead hand low. Lawler still holding the center, but MacDonald starting to keep himself off the fence and finds a few counters. Lawler misses a big uppercut. Lawler scores with lead lefts. Tactical work from both. Lawler may be slowing just a touch. MacDonald picking up the pace, landing with front kicks to the body. He drives in on a takedown. Lawler tries to keep his balance, but he winds up on his back. Lawler with butterfly guard. MacDonald stands, and he controls the head when Lawler tries to scramble up. Less than a minute, and MacDonald looks up at the clock. He’s controlling the position, and he postures to throw. Round end there, and MMAjunkie gives it to MacDonald, 10-9.
Round 3 – Lawler rushes forward at the bell. He rattles off punches that graze his opponent. As MacDonald rushes in, Lawler tries to catch him with a kick. MacDonald walks through it, and we’re on the floor early. MacDonald in Lawler’s guard, but he does nothing, and referee Mario Yamasaki stands them quickly. MacDonald shoots on the restart, but Lawler with a powerful rolling sweep and takes the top. He tries to punch, and MacDonald works hard to tie him up. MacDonald’s nose bleeding. Lawler backs away and MacDonald follows to the feet. Jab for MacDonald. Trading inside, and Lawler lands a stiff left. MacDonald complains of a poke to the eye, and he gets a brief break. On the restart, MacDonald looks for the takedown. Lawler airborne but shows incredible balance to stay up. He goes back to work on the feet and drops MacDonald with a huge flurry. He follows to the ground and passes MacDonald’s guard. Lawler in side control. MacDonald regains half-guard. Lawler postures and lands a big left hand. MacDonald trying to scramble, but Lawler pushes him back to the floor. MacDonald turns for an armbar with 35 seconds left. Lawler pulls free, and we go back to the feet. MacDonald with a late takedown, and he rifles elbows form the top. Big punches as Lawler covers and the crowd explodes until the bell. Great finish from MacDonald, but MMAjunkie gives the final round to Lawler, 10-9, giving him the fight 29-28. Amazing finish.
Result: Robbie Lawler def. Rory MacDonald via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)