Robbie Lawler pulled off a big upset tonight at UFC 167 by earning a deserved split decision victory against the man many had tipped as a future champion at 170lbs, Rory MacDonald.

Round One

Good leg kick from Lawler to start and a punch following behind it. More leg kicks from Lawler, he’s starting quickly, while MacDonald is taking a more measured approach.

Lawler marches forward and tries to land a big left hand, but MacDonald moves away. MacDonald unleashes a couple of strikes of his own.

Lawler back to popping out the leg kicks. MacDonald responds by firing off a a solid body kick.

MacDonald starting to unleash a few strikes now. Lawler with another leg kick and soon after tries one up higher, but it’s more to the body than the head.

Lawler loads up with an uppercut and a left hand behind it, but MacDonald moves out and the punches miss the mark.

MacDonald with another body kick. He lands a front kick to the midsection too.

Lawler pressuring forward aggressively trying to back up MacDonald up against the cage, but he isn’t able to trap him there.

Head kick for Lawler. MacDonald catches his leg and Lawler tags him with a punch while on one leg.

Round Two

Lawler pops off another two leg kicks to start. MacDonald looks for a takedown, but Lawler shows good balance and stays upright.

Lawler hangs his head low and MacDonald tries to catch him with a front kick, but misses.

Lawler stalking MacDonald, but has to block a head kick. MacDonald scores with a body kick. He’s doing well now on the counter as Lawler tries to stay aggressive.

Hard punch lands for Lawler, but MacDonald seems fine. Leg kick for Lawler. He’ll be happy with how he’s done so far in this fight.

A little combination of punches from MacDonald, but it’s really the kick at the end of it that lands most effectively.

MacDonald starting to get a little looser with his strikes now, and not before time. Then he changes things up and swoops in for a takedown and lands it.

Not a whole lot happening. A scramble ensues and MacDonald works his way back to half-guard. Slow work from MacDonald, but he finally comes to life in the final 15 seconds of the round and lands some vicious elbow strikes.

Round Three

Lawler with a good body kick to start the round. He lands a punch and it lands hard. He follows it up with an uppercut and MacDonald seems in trouble here.

Just as Lawler smells blood MacDonald manages to land a takedown. Again MacDonald’s not doing much from top position and the ref stands them.

That’s just what Lawler would have wanted and he takes full advantage as he again has MacDonald hurt with heavy strikes.

Again MacDonald has to desperately reach for a takedown to save his bacon.

There’s a scramble and Lawler manages to get on top and lands a little ground and pound.

They go back upright and there’s a stoppage for an eye poke to MacDonald. He seems ok though and they start again.

More punches from Lawler finding their mark. A big left and a right drops MacDonald. He’s still conscious and defending himself on the mat though as Lawler tries to find the killer blow to end this fight.

He tries his best on the ground, but he can’t get the stoppage. Then MacDonald attempts a submission and that allows him to get back to his feet.

Lawler looks tired now, but he’s still looking for the finish. MacDonald gets the takedown in the closing stages of the round and starts raining down some nasty ground and pound to finish the round strongly.

Decision:

The judges are split on their decision, but it’s Robbie Lawler who gets the nod from two of the three and so he earns a huge victory here (29-28 x2, 28-29).

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