Round 1: Lawler lands an outside leg kick followed by another. He continues to land leg kicks to MacDonald’s lead leg. MacDonald inches forward. MacDonald lands a counter right hand. Lawler answers with an outside leg kick. MacDonald fires off a high kick that’s blocked. Lawler continues to land leg kicks. MacDonald lands a front kick to the body. MacDonald lands another front kick to the body. Lawler moves in. MacDonald spins away from the cage. MacDonald lands his jab. Lawler throws a head kick and MacDonald catches it. Lawler lands a hard shot and MacDonald lets go of the leg. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Lawler.
Round 2: MacDonald works to get the fight to the ground with a single leg. Lawler defends the attempt and lands a shot or two. MacDonald delivers a front kick to the body. Lawler lands to the body. MacDonald clinches and Lawler pushes him away. MacDonald lands a kick to the body followed by a right hand. Lawler answers with a right hook. MacDonald lands to the body with a right hand. Lawler lands an outside leg kick. MacDonald lands to the body with a punch and then a kick. He steps in with a right hand. MacDonald changes levels and secures a double leg takedown. He stands over Lawler. Lawler works to get back to his feet. MacDonald keeps him on the canvas. He moves to half guard. He delivers elbows. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for MacDonald.
Round 3: Lawler lands a leg kick. He lands an uppercut. MacDonald may be hurt. MacDonald takes Lawler down. He just lays on him and the referee stands them up. Lawler lands a left hand. MacDonald takes him down. Lawler scrambles and gains top position. He lands a right hand. MacDonald ties him up. Lawler backs away and tells MacDonald to stand. Three minutes remain. Lawler lands a left hand. MacDonald says he was poked and the referee gives him time to continue. The replay showed the poke. MacDonald works to get a single leg. Lawler defends the attempt. He lands a combination that sends MacDonald crashing to the canvas. Lawler follows him and lands a right hand. Lawler is in side control. MacDonald gets back to half guard. Lawler moves back to side control. He lands a big right hand. MacDonald works back to full guard. He looks for an arm bar. Lawler gets free and tells MacDonald to stand. MacDonald scores a takedown. He lands elbows. The round ends. Fight of the Night candidate. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Lawler.
The judges scored the fight for Lawler by split decision. The scorecards read 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.
“I really wanted to go out there and finish Rory tonight but he trains with one of the best camps in the world and he’s super tough and durable. I started to tire toward the end of the third round but I’ve got a lot of heart and I’ll always push through no matter what. I spent this camp training in Florida with American Top Team away from my family in Iowa. I always work hard but being away really motivated me to push through all the bumps and bruises in training. It felt great to hear the crowd chanting my name. I think they connect with me because of my tenacity and the way I fight. I always have looked for the finish and I always will. I take chances for the fans.”