• Robbie Lawler could face Johny Hendricks in a rematch.next

Robbie Lawler could face Johny Hendricks in a rematch.next (Photo : REUTERS)

Robbie Lawler defended his UFC welterweight title knocking out  Rory MacDonald at the 1:00 of the fifth round Saturday night at UFC 189 at the MGM Grand Arena.

The 25-year-old MacDonald (18-3) succumbed to a straight left hand that didn't knock him down but somewhat injured and caused him to crumpled backward.

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That prompted referee John McCarthy to halt the proceedings.

The Canadian MacDonald was attempting to bring back the UFC Weteweight title, once lengthily held by countryman George St. Pierre, to his country.

He was very close to accomplishing his mission.

MacDonald came out kicking to  keep the power-punching Lawler at bay.

In round two,  MacDonald was able to catch Lawler with more frequency in face.

But Lawler fired back to stun MacDonald and later broke his nose that dripped blood.

With one minute left in the third round, MacDonald's right head kick got through Lawler's defense that caused the latter's legs to buckle. 

MacDonald followed Lawler to the fence and unloaded elbows and knees until the bell ended the round.

In the fourth round, MacDonald opened a nasty cut on the corner of Lawler's mouth and connected with a right head kick.

The 33-year-old Lawler continued to fire away with left hands and sprawled on two key takedown attempts by MacDonald.

Lawler (26-10), who is from San Diego, California, was down 39-37 on all three judges' scorecards entering the fifth round, and needed a knockout to win.

It was Lawler's second victory over MacDonald, after beating the latter via split decision at UFC 167 in November 2013.

In MacDonald last nine fights, he only suffered defeats at the hands of Lawler.

Johny Hendricks (17-3), who lost the UFC welterweight title to Robbie Lawler in a split-decision last December, is in line for a rematch with Lawler.

In the other UFC 189 main event, Conor McGregor defeated Chad Mendes by second-round knockout.