Some fights start great and taper off. Other fights slowly ramp up the volume as they go on. The UFC 167 welterweight bout between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald definitely falls into the latter category. After an uneventful, close first round, Rory took over in the second. But Lawler came out like a madman in the third, beating Rory all over the place, bloodying him up, and almost finishing the fight. MacDonald showed some perseverance and finished strong, but the judges narrowly gave the fight to Lawler by split decision. The scores were 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.
Lawler came out firing right away with a couple of nasty leg kicks. Rory wasn't throwing much early, so Lawler continued with the kicks. MacDonald scored with a jab and a short uppercut while dodging Lawler's attack. MacDonald caught a head kick and they exchanged punches. Honestly, not a lot happened but Lawler was doing more.
MacDonald looked for a takedown early in round two but Lawler fought it off. MacDonald landed a head and body kick, a straight right, and another head kick. They exchanged right hooks and Lawler went back to kicking. MacDonald was opening up a bit more than he was in the first round, particularly to the body. Rory scored a takedown with two minutes to go. Lawler was able to get away but MacDonald wrapped him up with a cradle. Rory opened up with elbows late and probably took that round.
Lawler scored early in the final round with a big punch that seemed to have MacDonald reeling, but Rory jumped in with a takedown to regain control. MacDonald just laid on him for a minute until the red stood them up. Robbie cracked him with a left again, and reversed a Rory takedown attempt. Lawler hung out for a bit then let a bleeding Rory up. Lawler poked Rory in the eye after a striking exchange. Lawler valiantly fought off a takedown attempt and dropped Rory with a huge punch. Rory covered up and Lawler moved to side control. Lawler continued to pour it on. MacDonald almost hit a sweep but could. Rory went for an armbar but Lawler backed out. MacDonald got his own takedown and landed a bunch of elbows to the horn.