The co-main event is no slouch though, with UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler defending his title against Canadian Rory MacDonald. Also featured on the card is a featherweight battle between Dennis Bermudez and Jeremy Stephens, a battle of promising welterweights, and a top prospect vs. grizzled veteran at bantamweight.
We'll cover all the main card action in this post. This PPV portion of the card kicks off at 10pm ET/7pm PT.
UFC 189 post-fight results and analysis
Tim B. takes a look at UFC 189, which featured quite possibly the best main card in the promotion's history.
Round 1 - Spinning back kick from Conor immediately. Tried again and got taken down. Back up immediately though. Mendes wit ha two-punch combo. Mendes with a leg kick and a right. Spinning back kick from Conor. Straight left from Conor. Another spinning heel kick to the body. Head kick from McGregor. Hard combo from Mendes. Mendes standing right in from of him. Straight right, and a takedown from Mendes. Hard elbow. McGregor staggered to his feet but ate a combo. Hard right from Mendes, and again. McGregor is cut over the right eye. Superman punch. Body shot from McGregor. Straight left staggered Mendes, but he fired back. Both went to the body. Mendes with another takedown. Passed to side and looked for a crucifix. Settled for half. Mendes looked for a guillotined and was warned by the ref for "fingers". I assume he means that he's trying to pull on his cut. 10-9 Mendes.
Round 2 - Leg kick from Chad. Conor misses with a spin. Conor stuffs an awkward shot. Lots of kicks from Conor. Landed three to the chin. Mendes with an emphatic takedown in the middle of the cage. An elbow from Mendes, and a hard right. Mendes complaining about an elbow to the head, Dean says it's fine. Another elbow by Mendes. Conor's trying to lock him down but he can't. Another elbow. Hard elbows to the top of the head from Conor and Mendes is complaining again. Right from Mendes. Two minutes left. Hard right again. Conor's still talking. McGregor wants a standup but Mendes is hitting him enough that there's not gonna be a standup. Not even close. Mendes isn't even trying to pass guard. And right as I said that , he jumped over for a guillotine and they're back to their feet with 50 seconds to go. Punches from Conor. Big right from Mendes. Conor dropped him with a straight right! Mendes is turtling! McGregor with some shots and Herb Dean stepped in! IT'S OVER!
Conor McGregor defeats Chad Mendes by TKO (strikes), 4:57 of round 2
Round 1 - Rory with a couple of body kicks. Straight right by Rory. Lawler with a straight right. Rory working the jab, and a body kick. Inside leg kick from Lawler. Another body kick from Rory, right on the belt line. Lawler starting slow, which is unusual. Straight right from MacDonald again. Jab. Lots of feinting, slow-ish pace. Rory with another right, and a jab. Rory's just touching his chin, not a lot on it. Right hook and a takedown attempt from MacDonald, Lawler stuffed it and landed a knee. Body shot from Lawler in close. Bodt kick from Rory. Hard jab from Lawler. Front kick from MacDonald. And another. One-two from Lawler. He's loosening up a bit, but lost the round. 10-9 Rory.
Round 2 - Straight left ,and a right from Lawler. Glancing left kick from Rory. Still a slow pace. Not many explosions. Lawler with a jab, but Rory fired back with a three-punch combo that connected. Two jabs and a body kick from MacDonald. Body shot from Rory. Hard jab from Lawler. Big kead kick from Rory blocked by Lawler, and he responded with a left. Hard straight right from MacDonald. More body work. Nice combo in return from Lawler. Combo from Rory, Lawler with his own and Rory's nose is bleeding. Lawler senses that what he's doing is working and they're finally opening up. Another left from Lawler, and a combo. Rory's face has a lot of vlood on it. Both land big shots - Rory with an elbow, Lawler with a left. Clear 10-9 Lawler.
Round 3 - They traded punches early. A Lawler left snapped Rory's head back. Lawler's jab is on point. Rory with a single leg but Robbie stayed upright. A knee from Lawler and Rory is wearing the bloody mask. Combo from Rory, but they're slowing down again. Head kick from MacDonald. Another one came up short. Rory with a body shot, but Lawler with the right hook. Hard straight right from MacDonald. Head kick was blocked by Lawler but he's hurt! Rory's coming forward! Kees! Elbows! Robbie's covering up! He's firing back. More elbows! The round ends with Lawler wobbling back to the corner! Wow! 10-9 Rory.
Round 4 - Rory with two punches an another head kick and Robbie is hurt again! Elbow against the cage! Lawler is hurt but says he's fine. Another head kick. Short elbows against the cage. Lawler back to the middle. He doesn't have as much steam on his punches, but he's there. Another head kick! MacDonald faked a takedown attempt. the pace has slowed again, which is advantage Lawler. Right hand and head kick. Superman punch. Right gook from Lawler. Short elbow and a right hook from Lawler. Looks like he's back. Rory with an uppercut. Stiff jab from Lawler. Straight right from MacDonald. MacDonald shot in for a takedown and there was nothing there. Jabs from Rory. Front kick to the body. Right with a right over the top. Both men bleeding a bunch. This is a dogfight. Head kick from Rory. They stare each other down for a few seconds at the end of the round, 10-9 Rory.
Round 5 - Rory with a combo. Lawler with a jab. And another. Third one. Hard left hook backs Rory off. Step-in elbow from MacDonald. Jab and Rory's hurt! He's down. His nose is destroyed! Lawler pounded him out! WOW! That's one of the crazier title fights you'll ever see.
Robbie Lawler defeated Rory MacDonald by TKO (strikes), 1:00 of round 5
Round 1 - Bermudez shot in for a takedown right away and they briefly clinched. Stephens with a big right that hurt Bermudez. He immediately went for a takedown. But got back up. Big hook and now Stephens is stunned. There's a big cut on Jeremy's eyebrow. They clinched up and Bermudez landed a knee. Stephens responded with one of his own. Short left from Bermudez. He got Stephens down to his butt. Bermudez squirmed around to his back. They stalled out. Apparently the cut was caused by a headbutt, and it's deep. Bermudez is high on the back and Stephens popped out the back. Bermudez with a knee and hard leg kick. Stephens has the crimson mask. Bermudez scores with a right and a leg kick. Stephens fires back. Some clinch work. Spinning elbow by Bermudez. 10-9 Bermudez.
Round 2 - Hard leg kick by Stephens. Right hook by Bermudez. Right hook by Stephens drops him! He's right back up though. He clinched up. Straight left from Stephens. Nice combo from Bermudez. Anther leg kick from Stephens made Bermudez's leg give out. Stephens with a hook that briefly dropped Bermudez again. Right back up. Bermudez firing away. Remarkable resilience from both men. Bermudez stumbled Stephens with a superman punch while he was trying to throw a kick. Hard body kick. Bermudez looking for a takedown. They clinched up against the cage for a little bit. Bermudez with a leg kick. Both land with hard punches at the same time. Stephens bulled for a takedown off of a leg kick but there was nothing. Bermudez came forward with punches. Wow, this is intense. 10-9 Stephens.
Round 3 - Bermudez with a hard leg kick. Stephens with a jumping knee that floors Bermudez! HOLY CRAP! Hard punches and it's over! That was...insane. I can't think of another word. This was even crazier than Almeida's KO, and I didn't think anything could top that.
Jeremy Stephens defeats Dennis Bermudez by TKO (strikes), ;32, round 3
Round 1 - Thatch with an outside leg kick. He looks so much bigger than Gunnar. Two more leg kicks from Thatch. More kicks. Gunnar responded with a combo. Good clinch work from both guys with knees. Gunnar dropped Thatch with a combo! I can't believe it! Gunnar took mount. Thatch rolled over and Nelson took the back with a body triangle. Nelson opened up with punches to both sides of the head. He slipped the arm under and Nelson wins by submission. wow.
Gunnar Nelson defeated Brandon Thatch by submission (rear naked choke), 2:34 of round 1
Round 1 - Pickett pawing with a jab. Almeida missed with some hard shots. Pickett's quickness is allowing him to land and evade early. Pickett with a hard left hook. Kick from Almeida. Pickett dropped him with a right hook! A knee put him down again! Almeida with a leg lock! Almeida back to his feet. Elbow from Pickett and Almeida's face is busted up. Inside leg kick from Almeida. Pickett scoring with the counter left hook at will. Now Almeida drops Pickett with a step-in elbow! Pickett with a takedown and now they're back up. Pickett with a short left hook again. Spinning elbow. Another spinning elbow that landed from Almeida! This fight is pretty awesome, folks. Right hook for Almeida, just missed with the follow-up left. Three-punch combo from Almeida, another counter left hook from Pickett. Huge knee from Almeida! Another big shot from Pickett! Big combo from Almeida at the horn. Maybe one of the rounds of the year so far. 10-9 Pickett.
Round 2 - Jumping knee from Pickett. Almeida landed a left and scored with a step-in knee THAT KNOCKED PICKETT OUT! THAT WAS AMAZING!
Thomas Almeida defeated Brad Pickett by knockout (knee), :29 of round 2