#4: Lawler vs MacDonald 2
A minute into the final round, Lawler scored the stoppage victory that it turned out he needed, as the challenger entered the final frame ahead 3-1 on all three scorecards. His nose a crimson faucet, his eyes bruised and swollen, MacDonald was vanquished by the veteran champion, leaving many observers wondering what kind of impact the punishing instant classic would have on the battered challenger in the long term?
#3: Shogun vs Henderson
#2: McGregor vs Diaz
#1: Diaz vs McGregor 2
Cejudo landed a shot and Johnson returned fire, both fighters looking as fresh as when the fight started. With just 15 seconds left the two fighters started absolutely going for it. Firing as many punches as they could. Great ending, what a fight by both Johnson and Cejudo.
With a little over a minute to go, McGregor desperately shot for a takedown, and then it was all Diaz, as he battered the Irishman and then sunk in a rear naked choke, prompting a tap out at the 4:12 mark.
“There’s a new king right here,” said Diaz.
Let there be three. After a memorable five-round scrap that headlined UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor evened the score with Nate Diaz, winning a razor-thin majority decision in their welterweight bout that put the two rivals at 1-1 and set the stage for a future rubber match.
“All I know is it’s 1-1, regroup and we’ll do it again, this time at 155 pounds,” McGregor said.
“I want number three,” Diaz, who defeated McGregor via second-round submission in March, said. “I gave him number two the second day, so I’m ready to go again.”
If the Belfort fight showed Jones’ grit, his UFC 165 bout against Alexander Gustafsson took it to a new level, as he went through his toughest challenge as a pro in a five-round war with “The Mauler.” With his title on the line, Jones soared in the championship rounds and took a well-deserved decision in a fight that has also earned plenty of consideration as one of the best title fights of all-time.
Henderson-Rua delivered five rounds of back and forth fury that many believe earned it the title of greatest MMA fight of all-time. When it was over, Henderson got the win and a title shot against Jon Jones, but a knee injury took him out of the September 1, 2012 fight at UFC 151, an event that wound up being cancelled.
Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya gave the State Farm Arena crowd a spectacle that they'll carry with them forever; the type of performance that reminds the viewer why they love mixed martial arts.
“This was the hardest fight of my career. Bar none,” Adesanya confirmed through a criminally swollen lip. “He’s kinda forced me to take some time off.”
The bad blood between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor apparently did not get settled by Nurmagomedov’s fourth-round submission of the returning Irishman, as the UFC 229 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was marred by post-fight altercations involving the principals, leading to Nurmagomedov not being presented with the championship belt after his first successful lightweight title defense, as he and McGregor were ushered to the locker room without hearing Bruce Buffer’s official reading of the result.
Arlovski vs Rozenstruik
Just as he did in his last outing against Allen Crowder, Rozenstruik backed up Arlovski with the first sharp jab he threw and from there, “Bigi Boy” went hunting. While Arlovski looked to fire back, the unbeaten newcomer connected with a retreating left hand that left the veteran face down on the canvas.
Tavares vs Shahbazyan
For the third time this year, Shahbazyan needed less than a round to handle his business. Patient out of the chute, “The Golden Boy” waited for an opening to present itself and when it did, he pounced, connecting with a straight right hand that sat Tavares down and sent Shahbazyan in search of the finish.
Anderson vs Walker
After feeling overlooked and underappreciated during his current run of success, Anderson silenced his doubters and made it clear that he’s a legitimate contender with his performance on Saturday.
Lee vs Gillespie
These two stayed low in their stances, pumping out punches to start, with Gillespie opening up a small cut under the Lee’s left eye. As they continued to trade in the center of the cage, Lee uncorked a left high kick that turned off Gillespie’s lights in a flash, sending the Long Island native falling unconscious into the cage.
Lewis vs Ivanov
Lewis got loose and started to throw in the final seconds, but he wasn’t able to connect and secure the finish, leaving the decision in the hands of the judges. When then nines and tens were tallied, Lewis came away on the happy side of a split decision verdict.
Thompson vs Luque
Luque started the third on the hunt, trying to close the distance and take the fight to Thompson, but “Wonderboy” continued to stick and move, catching Luque with a right hand coming in that sat the surging Brazilian down. After letting Luque back to his feet, Thompson kept the pressure on, continuing to pick the Brazilian apart.
Gastelum vs Till
Although it wasn’t the barnburner many expected, this was a hard-fought, competitive fight that showed Till has a place in the middleweight division going forward. When the scorecards were totaled and the verdict was rendered, the judges awarded the victory to the talented Scouser, who gets back into the win column and continues to have a bright future in this sport.
Masvidal vs Diaz
Sporting a busted mouse under his right eye and a cut above it, Diaz started Round 3 coming forward, landing long punches, only to have Masvidal smile, counter and sting him with a straight hand. Though Diaz continued to engage, it was clear Masvidal’s shots were doing much more damage, as he kept Diaz from setting the pace.