In a clash of stand-up styles, Lawler went for broke, searching for the knockout from bell to bell, while MacDonald worked to employ his jab and leg kicks to chop away at his elder.
Lawler seemed to edge ahead in the first round, landing more frequently than MacDonald, even though it was MacDonald that seemed to move the fight around the cage. He just couldn’t seem to land much on Lawler.
MacDonald took the second stanza, pecking away with his jab and kicks until he landed a takedown in the latter portion of the round. He didn’t do a lot of damage on the ground, but he did control the fight and land a few shots, racking up points.
Lawler stormed back in the final round, dropping MacDonald and nearly finishing him. Try as he might, Lawler amassed damage, but couldn’t put MacDonald away. After returning to their feet, MacDonald somewhere found the energy late in the round to score a takedown and drop elbows on Lawler until the final horn.
It was a close fight, which was reflected in the judges’ split decision victory for Lawler.
“He’s in shape and he trains with the best, so I was expecting 15 minutes,” said Lawler after the fight, giving a nod to his experience for being able to push on and edge ahead in the fight.
“I’ve had a tough road, up and down, but I kept pushing forward and that’s what happened tonight.”
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)