Canada’s Rory MacDonald headed to UFC Hall of Fame for bloody UFC 189 title challenge

Former Bellator champion and retired Canadian welterweight Rory (Red King) McDonald is now headed to the UFC Hall of Fame.

The bloody UFC 189 fight between McDonald and then-welterweight champion (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler in July 2015 will be inducted into the UFC this summer as part of the 2023 class, the mixed martial arts promotion said. “Battle Wings” Hall of Fame.

Lawler won by fifth-round TKO in a brutal bout that left both boxers looking as if they had been involved in a car accident.

MacDonald’s face is a crimson mask beneath a shaved mohawk.

His nose was pointing in the wrong direction, and his torso was splattered with blood, which turned his white torso rose-tinted in the last minute of the final round, as the A boxer from Montreal shot him in the injured beak.

“I fight all the time. If somebody gets in my face, I’ll knock you down,” Lawler said defiantly after the game.

Victory comes at a price. Lawler’s lips look like someone took a box knife.

UFC president Dana White called it “one of the most exciting fights in UFC history.”

“This was an absolute battle, and both athletes exemplified heart, grit, determination and the will to win,” he said in a statement announcing the Hall of Fame news Saturday night.

All three judges gave McDonald the first, third and fourth rounds, with Lawler getting the second. According to UFC stats, MacDonald has 86 major strikes in fights, compared to Lawler’s 70.

Co-Main Event – (Infamous) Conor McGregor holds off Chad (Money) Mendes, earns provisional feather for night’s big match at MGM Grand in Las Vegas The Welterweight Championship – is a McDonnell-Lawler rematch without a title fight at UFC 167 in November 2013.

Lawler also won via split decision that night.

McDonald, 25, won his next three fights and became the second contender to enter the rematch at 170 pounds with an 18-2-0 record.

The 33-year-old Lawler, an 18-year-old pro who went 25-10-0 without a game, was defending for the first time what he took off Johnny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks. 170-pound title. The split decision for UFC 181 was passed a few months ago.

In the first round of the tentative round of the rematch, McDonnell kicked the champion’s stomach many times to score. Lawler hit McDonald’s face accurately several times in the second round, severely damaging McDonnell. Donner’s nose and opened his face.

“You’re so excited. Three more rounds,” coach Firas Zahabi told McDonald between the rounds. “You have to hold on and move, hold on and move, hold on and move. That’s what works.”

Lawler also controlled the third round until McDonnell head kicked him in the last minute, punching him, elbowing and kneeling him against the cage until the end of the bout.

“Recover your cool. You’ve got to put pressure on this guy,” Lawler was told between rounds in his corner.

“You’re figuring him out,” Zahabi told MacDonald as the cutter tried to fix his fighter. “I want you to circle, breathe and finish him.”

MacDonald stayed aggressive in the fourth quarter and pounded Lawler around the cage, only to see the champion recover his composure midway through the round and make a couple of big shots of his own. Lawler kept coming forward, ignoring the punches that came at him.

After the round ended, the bloody fighters stood in the center of the ring, looking at each other.

“Don’t give him space—it’s time to let him go, Robbie. He failed, you’re a lion, you’re a champion. Five minutes left,” Lawler’s corner told him.

“Five minutes and you’ve won,” Zahabi told MacDonald, his face dripping with blood.

The fighters touched the glove before restarting in the final round. But it was over a minute later, after Lawler left McDonald’s disfigured face. The Canadian touched his nose and collapsed.

“It’s a knockout. It’s not a punch. It’s years of fighting. I’m a champion and I’m here to stay,” Lawler said.

Lawyer defended his title against Carlos (Natural Killers) Condit at UFC 195 in January 2016 before losing to Tyrone (Natural Killers) Woodley at UFC 201 in July.

Lawler, 41, (29-16-0, one game not played) is 2-5-0 since losing the title and has lost five of his past six fights — most recently Stopped by Brian (Bam Bam) Barberena at UFC 276 last July.

MacDonald lost to Stephen (Wonderboy) Thompson in Ottawa in June 2016 before leaving the UFC. He defeated Douglas (Phenom) Lima to win the Bellator welterweight title in January 2018, but lost a rematch in October 2019.

McDonald then moved to the professional wrestling league, going 2-4-0 before retiring in 2022 at age 33 with a 23-10-1 record.He has lost four of his past five fights

Macdonald is a born-again Christian who had to grapple with his faith and his battles as his career continued. After winning a majority with veteran Jon Fitch in the April 2019 Bellator move, he wondered in a postgame interview if he still had “the same drive to hurt people.”

Then he found the answer,

“I don’t want to leave a legacy as a fighter, but I want to leave a mark on the sport of the good news of Jesus Christ,” McDonald said.

MacDonald, who was born in Quesnel, British Columbia, joined the UFC in 2009 at the age of 20 with a record of 9-0-0.

He started training with David Lea in Kelowna, British Columbia when he was 14

Macdonald competed in his first professional fight at age 16, a move that his parents had to give permission to do. Even so, only a handful of sports commissions would sanction him to compete.

He won the Canadian Cage Lightweight Championship at age 18 — his sixth bout — and beat Clay French in his next bout a year later to win the Cage World 155-pound title .


Neil Davidson, Canadian Press

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