On Saturday, July 11, the UFC touched down in Las Vegas to bring fight fans the highly anticipated UFC 189: McGregor  vs. Mendes live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

In the night’s headlining act, Irish superstar Conor McGregor squared off against former two-two title contender Chad Mendes with the interim UFC featherweight champion on the line. McGregor was originally scheduled face reigning featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo before a broken rib forced the champion out of the contest. As a result, the UFC named Mendes his replacement.

In the co-main event reigning UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler will be looking to make his first title defense against Canadian standout Rory MacDonald in a rematch of their 2013 contest. In this initial meeting, Lawler earned a tight split decision win.

All this plus a featherweight matchup between Dennis Bermudez and Jeremy Stephens, a welterweight battle between Gunnar Nelson and Brandon Thatch as well a bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Brad Pickett.


Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes  – for interim UFC featherweight title

McGregor immediately throws a spinning round house and a flying knee and Mendes throws him to the ground and lands some punches. McGregor gets back to his fight and both fighters exchange strikes. McGregor throws a spinning kick that lands. Mendes is standing right in front of McGregor as they jaw jack back and forth.  McGregor lands some more strikes and Mendes looks hurt. Mendes is looking very slow, but gets a takedown and moves into guard. Mendes lands some strikes before McGregor gets back to his feet. Mendes lands some more shots and McGregor answers with a body kick.  Mendes’ body is hurt, but he is still firing punches. McGregor continues to land strikes, but Mendes gets a takedown and moves into side control.  McGregor gives up his back then rolls back to his back. Mendes lands some solid ground and pound as he controls position. Mendes looks to work for a guillotine as Herb Deans warns him to keep his fingers out of McGregors’ eyes. The round ends with Mendes in top control.

As round two starts, McGregor taunts Mendes from the corner. McGregor comes out, lands some strikes and stuffs a takedown. As the fighters reset, Mendes shoots in and gets another takedown and moves into guard. Mendes is landing some good ground and pound and McGregor has a vicious cut over his eye. Mendes in controlling this fight so far with the takedowns.  McGregor, though, is still talking to Mendes and Mendes replies with a few elbows.  McGregor has no answer for Mendes on his back.  McGregor does land some elbows from the bottom, but Mendes is still controlling this fight and doing damage with ground and pound.  McGregor continues to talk to both Mendes and Herb Dean and Dean tells McGregor that Mendes is fighting and he should do the same.  McGregor has done nothing to work to his feet as Mendes looks for a submission.  McGregor sees his opportunity to work to his feet and explodes on Mendes.  McGregor lands serious body shots, hurts Mendes and moves in for the kill.  Mendes eats another body shot falls to his knees and covers up.  Herb Dean immediately steps in and stops the fight with six seconds left in the round.

Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald – for UFC welterweight title

The fighters touch glove in the center of the cage.  MacDonald immediately lands a straight right to judge the distance.  Both fighters circle each other, pawing at each other and trading shots.  Both fighters showing respect and not wanting to commit to anything early.  Two minutes in and both fighters are still looking to find their range.  Both fighters are very calm and very cautious in the opening round.  Both fighters have exchanged some punches, but neither has begun to press the action.  MacDonald is having success with body kicks but nothing that is going to end the fight this early.  As the round comes to a close both fighters are able to land some combinations but nothing significant.

Round two starts with MacDonald landing more leg kicks. Both fighters continue to circle reluctant to commit to anything serious.  At this point in the fight, it looks more like shadow boxing than a title fight.  Lawler looks to close the distance, but every time he does MacDonald throws a jab in his face.  Lawler looks to throw some leg kicks and MacDonald opens up with a combination landing clean.  MacDonald continues to land some pitter pat shots scoring points.  Lawler looks to work in the lead hook, but MacDonald is too quick and is able to counter every time.  MacDonald is not beating Lawler up, but he is starting land some counters and dictate the pace.  Lawler is starting to land his own shots and has opened up a cut on MacDonald’s face.  Lawler is feeling the momentum now and is starting to let his hands go and landing some shots. MacDonald’s face is now busted up and bleeding profusely.  MacDoanld continues to land his own strikes but the damage in round 2 was done by Lawler.

Round three starts with MacDonald taking center cage and landing a stiff one, two. Lawler fires back and both fighters again look to find their range. Lawler continues to land shots on MacDonald, forcing MacDonald to shoot for a takedown. Lawler stuffs it and punishes MacDonald with some shots.  MacDonald’s nose is broken and he is bleeding from multiple cuts.  Lawler continues to turn it on.  MacDoanld continues to press the action and land shots of his own, but the damage is being done by Lawler.  MacDonald cannot breathe out of his nose at this point and is forced to breathe through his mouth.  MacDonald wobbles Lawler with a head kick and Lawler is in big trouble.  MacDonald moves in for the kill, but Lawler gets saved by the bell.  MacDonald was 10 seconds away from a finish.  Lawler is hurt, wobbling back to his corner.

Round four starts with MacDonald smelling blood.  MacDonald lands a head kick and hurts Lawler again and punishes him with more shots. John McCarthy moves in and Lawler tells him to get out, that he is fine. Lawler fires back, but MacDonald has all the momentum and continues to punish Lawler.  MacDonald is now landing his shots from head kicks to superman punches, but Lawler is not done.  He continues to fight back, but MacDonald is still landing his shots.  MacDonald is starting to get a little over-confident and Lawler starts to mount a comeback.  MacDonald goes for a takedown and again Lawler makes him pay.  Lawler is trying to come back and steal this round.  Both fighters have beat each other up and have certainly slowed down, but another round for MacDonald.

They meet in the middle and began to paw for position. The crowd is electric, torn between the two fighters.  Both fighters exchange punches with Lawler looking to be the aggressor.  Lawler lands a straight right that explodes MacDonald’s nose and that is it. MacDonald falls down and curls up forcing Big John McCarthy to step in and stop the fight.

Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens

Both fighters touch gloves to start the fight and Bermudez immediately shoots for a takedown, but Stephens stuffs it and lands some shots.  Bermudez answers and wobbles Stephens.  Bermudez lands a few more shots and opens a cut over Stephens’ right eye. Bermudez presses Stephens up against  the cage looking for a takedown.  Bermudez is relentless; he gets the takedown and immediately begins his transition to an arm triangle. Stephens’ eye is bleeding badly, making it hard to lock in the submission.  Stephens works back to his feet and both fighters exchange punches.  Bermudez again presses Stephens against the cage, working the clinch and some dirty boxing as the round comes to an end.

Round 2 starts with both fighters meeting in the center of the cage and Stephens lands some shots.  Both fighters exchange and Stephens lands a shot that wobbles Bermudez.  Bermudez immediately goes for the clinch and pushes Stephens up against the fence and looks to recover.  Both fighters have reset are exchanging punches again. Stephens is beginning to open up and land leg kicks and strikes.  Stephens lands another shot that hurts Bermudez, but Bermudez fires back and stuns Stephens and quickly pushes him up against the cage to work some dirty boxing.  Stephens pushes away, but Bermudez drops him with a superman punch. Stephens is right back to his feet and the action continues.  Bermudez looks for a takedown but Stephens stuffs it and both fighters rest against the cage.  After the ref warns them for action, both fighters break and reset in the center of the cage.  Both fighters land a few more strikes and then Stephens looks for a takedown but gets stuffed. The round ends with both fighters resting on the cage.

Round 3 starts with a handshake before Stephens opens up with some kicks.  Stephens steps back and jumps in with a knee that clips Bermudez. Stephens jumps on Bermudez with some nasty ground and pound, forcing the referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight.

Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch

Both fighters come out and take center stage. Nelson in a karate stance and Thatch as a southpaw.  Both fighters trade shots, with Nelson landing some good knees.  Nelson moves in for the clinch, but Thatch shrugs him off.  Nelson resets and both fighters exchange.  Nelson lands a one, two combination that puts Thatch on his back.  Nelson jumps on Thatch and gets full mount.  Thatch tries to defend, but Nelson continues to smother him.  Thatch gives up his back and Nelson immediately transitions to a rear naked choke.  Thatch tries to defend but ultimately is forced to tap.

Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett

Both fighters immediately move to the center of the octagon to claim their spot. Both fighters throw some soft punches to establish range. They begin to exchange punches in the center of the cage with neither getting a significant advantage, but it is Pickett who lands the better shots.  Two minutes into the round and Pickett begins to find his range, dropping Almeida on two occasions.  Almeida is still fighting, but Pickett is landing strikes at will.  Pickett bloodies up Almeida with some more clean shots, but Almeida is still game, standing toe to toe with each other.  Pickett is using his better technique to win the exchanges but Almeida is landing shots of his own. As the round comes to a close, Pickett continues to land his shots.

The second round starts off with more of the same, Pickett landing his shots.  Both fighters step back and reset and Almeida moves forward and lands a flying knee flush on Pickett’s jaw and immediately puts him to sleep.  Big John is forced to step in and stop this fight 22 seconds into the second round.


MAIN CARD – Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET

Conor McGregor def Chad Mendes by TKO (Strikes) Round 2, 4:54 wins interim UFC featherweight title
Robbie Lawler def. Rory MacDonald by TKO (Strikes) Round 5, 1:00 retains UFC welterweight title
Jeremy Stephens def Dennis Bermudez by TKO (Strikes) Round 3, .32
Gunnar Nelson def Brandon Thatch by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1, 2:54
Thomas Almeida def Brad Pickett by KO (Flying Knee) Round 2, .22

PRELIMINARY CARD – FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET

Matt Brown def Tim Means by Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 1, 4:44
Alex Garcia def Mike Swick by Unanimous Decision, Round 3, (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
John Howard def Cathal Pendred by Split Decision, Round 3, (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Cody Garbrandt def. Henry Briones by Unanimous Decision, Round 3, (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET

Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka def Neil Seery by Unanimous Decision, Round 3, (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cody Pfister def. Yosdenis Cedeno by Unanimous Decision, Round 3. (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)