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UFC 189: What happened on the greatest UFC card in history?

Paul Benson
241   //    Timeless

Conor McGregor defeated Chad Mendes in the main event
Conor McGregor defeated Chad Mendes in the main event

UFC 189 took place on July 15, 2015, and is widely considered the greatest or at least one of the greatest UFC cards in history.

Two titles were on the line as Conor McGregor clashed with Chad Mendes in an Interim Featherweight Championship bout and Welterweight Champion, Robbie Lawler defended his title versus Rory MacDonald. It's fair to say both of those bouts met all expectations and then some.

The headliner was originally meant to be a clash between McGregor and Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo, who had been forced to withdraw due to injury. Mendes was a late replacement but proved to be an excellent substitution.

Many observers expected Mendes to win, owing to his superior wrestling; however, you would be forgiven in thinking that McGregor was the favourite considering the electric atmosphere that greeted his entrance.

Irish singing legend, Sinead O' Connor sang a haunting rendition of the traditional Irish song, "The Foggy Dew", to play McGregor to the Octagon which was very well received by the Vegas crowd.

The pair traded stiff shots from the get go with Mendes working on McGregor's elbow as he seemed to prepare for a guillotine. He dominated the first two rounds with his excellent grappling but McGregor spurred on by the heavy Irish contingent in attendance withstood the onslaught and forced himself free and smashed Mendes with a huge left hook that put him down. The fight was over and McGregor had banished any pre-match questions on his ability as a potential Champion of the division. McGregor had arrived.

Lawler and MacDonald contested what many observers regard as the greatest MMA fight of all time. Lawler renowned for his devastating punching power soon found his range and began smashing MacDonald's face at will. MacDonald's face quickly resembled that infamous scene from the 1976 movie Carrie as it became the proverbial crimson mask.

Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler unload on one another
Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler unload on one another

It looked as if Lawler was moments away from securing the finish but then in round three, MacDonald somehow managed to fire back, beginning with a crushing head kick which knocked Lawler silly. MacDonald literally smelling blood as it began pouring out of Lawler's head also, then unloaded with a series of vicious elbows and punches that nearly earned him the fight. It was Lawler's time to survive,


The final rounds ebbed and flowed with brutal striking combinations as both men wore each other down before finally Lawler expertly timed a direct punch to MacDonald's nose. A sickening crunch was audible as it broke. MacDonald could not continue and Lawler was declared the winner by TKO.

Both men looked like they had been in a car wreck rather than a fight but they were satisfied post-fight, as they knew they had contested an instant classic of a bout.

Further down the card and another Featherweight bout electrified the audience. Blood was spilt by the bucket load as Jeremy Stephens and Dennis Bermudez exchanged brutally stiff combinations before Stephens knocked out Bermudez with an incredible jumping knee that knocked Bermudez seemingly into orbit.

Thomas Almeida beat Brad Pickett after withstanding some vicious early blows from the veteran. However, the youngster withstood the early onslaught and landed a brilliant flying knee to knock Pickett out.

Thomas Almeida drops Brad Pickett
Thomas Almeida drops Brad Pickett

Gunnar Nelson rounded out the main card, perhaps with a point to prove after his first career loss to Rick Story last time out. This was his first pay per view appearance for UFC in his sixth fight for the promotion and he showed the large audience exactly what a talent he is by dropping Brendon Thatch with the first combination he unloaded with to set up the submission win.

UFC 189 top to bottom is probably the most entertaining and action-packed card UFC has ever produced. An electric event that will do well to be replicated.

The card also pulled a massive 825,000 buys.

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