UFC 189 Among the Greatest Cards of All Time
When the dust settled at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night July 11, 2015, there were only two words that came to mind. One of them I can't type here. The other was: awesome.
Never in my life have I witnessed a sporting event where everything fell into place so well. The UFC could not have rigged a better story than what played out at UFC 189.
Every single fight was better than the one before, and it all added up to what is being called the greatest fight card of all time. A card that brought us a Knockout of the Year, two Fight of the Year candidates, a title defense and the crowning of a new champion.
UFC President Dana White has long said: "Do not leave the fight in the hands of the judges." Well, with the 10 men who fought at UFC 189, the judges could have stayed home; all five fights on the main card were ended early. Not a single fight went to decision, and four were ended by knockout.
The night opened with Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett. Pickett dominated early but Almeida survived some wobbly legs to land one of the cleanest flying-knees in UFC history. So clean, in fact, ring announcer Joe Rogan played the clip several times to listen to the impact of knee to face.
A trend of finishes continued as Gunnar Nelson gave Brandon Thatch a combination of punches that sent Thatch to the floor where Nelson swiftly choked him out.
Next, we had Jeremy Stephens against Dennis Bermudez. This fight was a back-and-forth slugfest. Bermudez landed what appeared to be knock-out blows and executed premier take-downs. Stephens defended the take-downs and traded blows at the same caliber.
In the end it was Stephens, who, with a face full of blood, connected another flush flying-knee before finishing Bermudez on the mat beneath a plethora of punches.
Then came the main events.
The Fight of the Night, maybe the fight of the year, was the co-main event. After a slow first round, things picked up quickly in the second when Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler went to battle. The next four rounds were violent, brutal, bloody, raging, savage and any other word you want to grab from a thesaurus.
Both men almost finished each other multiple times in an attempt to be considered the best welterweight in the world and take home the belt. After breaking his nose earlier in the fight, MacDonald was caught square in the face by a ruthless left hand by Lawler. MacDonald buckled from the pain, and the fight was called quickly after.
After Sinead O'Conner and Aaron Lewis gave live performances as the fighters made their way to the ring, Connor McGregor and Chad Mendes fought for the Interim Title.
In the first round, it appeared that McGregor talked more than he fought, landing a verbal assault while Mendes took over physically.
During McGregor's rise to fame and title contention, it's been said that he would lose to a wrestler if he ever fought one. During the first round and the early part of the second in the main event of UFC 189, it looked like the doubters were right.
Then, with just three seconds left in the second round, Connor McGregor said something pretty loud with his left hand.
The UFC's Most Hated was now its newest champion in front of a crowd in Vegas that was predominately Irish...at least for the night.
It was truly the best way to cap off the best, most exciting main card in UFC history. This only brings even more anticipation for a McGregor-Aldo matchup to combine the belts.
UFC next looks to top this performance in UFC 190 on August 1, 2015 live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where Rhonda Rousey defends her title against Bethe Correia. Rousey has finished her last two fights in thirty seconds combined.