Continuing an unexpected and incredible career renaissance, Welterweight Robbie Lawler (21-9, 1 NC) took a close split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29) over Rory MacDonald (15-2) at UFC 167. Lawler remains undefeated in 3 fights since returning to the UFC following the Strikeforce merger. MacDonald has only lost twice in 7 fights inside the Octagon.
The bout started out slow through the first round with neither fighter really getting much off. Rory came out in the second round. He outlanded Robbie and landed a takedown later in the round. In the final round, Lawler took over. He landed some brutal punches that had Rory reeling. MacDonald ended the round on top, but it wasn't enough and he gave up the fight on two judges' cards.
What was the high point of the fight?
All of the third round. Most didn't give Robbie a chance outside a first round knockout, but he stayed strong throughout and poured it on in the final frame.
Where do they go from here?
Had the main event ended less controversially, Lawler would be in prime position to argue for being the next contender. As we take time to find out with Georges St-Pierre will take time off, retire, or jump right into a rematch with Johny Hendricks, Robbie will have to stay active. Carlos Condit is facing Matt Brown soon and the winner of the fight makes a lot of sense for Lawler.
Rory's back to the drawing board after this one. He'd have been in a precarious position regardless as he's always held he'd not fight St. Pierre for the belt. Now, he's fallen against someone he was heavily favored to defeat in Lawler. Him and BJJ ace Demian Maia are both coming off losses now and I'd like to see that fight.
Watch it now, later, or never?
I loved this fight and there's no reason not to go watch it.