Las Vegas: Conor McGregor lived up to the expectations as the Irish fighter recovered from a serious beating to hand a Technical Knockout to America's Chad Mendes in a classic Mixed Martial Art UFC 189 interim featherweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here.
With the likes of former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and Hollywood Star and ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in attendance, McGregor fought bravely to stun a tough-looking Mendes in the second of the five-round final of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
McGregor, 26, nicknamed 'The Notorious' had the backing of a majority Irish crowd at the packed MGM Arena as Mendes faced a hostile scenario on home turf.
Billed as a great match-up even after Jose Aldo's pull-out a couple of weeks ahead of the Big Fight, it had all the ingredients of an action thriller as the loud-mouthed McGregor came back from a serious pounding to turn the tables in the dying moments of Round 2.
The crowd went berserk as McGregor cornered Mendes in the Octagon, an imposing 750 square foot mat arena surrounded by a fight foot steel cage set up at the Grand Arena, and continued throwing punches till the referee intervened and stopped the fight.
It the southpaw's left hook that did the damage and Mendes' lack of preparation reflected in the end.
Meanwhile in the welterweight title fight, American pro Robbie Lawler got past Canada's Rory MacDonald via a Technical Knockout in the fifth round of the drama-filled match.
After the initial domination, the young MacDonald was done in with a hard punch on the nose by the experienced Lawler. McDonald, 25, stumbled down with a broken nose in the final round and the referee immediately stopped the fight.
But despite the evening witnessing many a good fight in various weight categories, the McGregor-Mendes battle truly lived up to all the hype and expectation.
Addressing critics who had said he was yet to face a significant test, McGregor said after the fight, "I've been hearing all the time that I'm protected from this style of opponent, that I've been gifted a title shot.
"So my title shot went running, and they gave me a guy who I was supposed to be protected from. I knew I was going to prove to people that I'm a true fighter. It doesn't matter who it is. I show up and I'm a professional and I'm confident in my abilities."
McGregor's comments were, of course, directed at champ Aldo, who withdrew with a rib injury and forced the UFC to install Mendes. McGregor's win now sets up a title unification match with the Brazilian champ.
Main Featherweight Interim title: Conor McGregor beat Chad Mendes via TKO
Welterweight title: Robbie Lawler beat Rory MacDonald via TKO
Featherweight: Jeremy Stephens beat Dennis Bermudez
Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson beat Brandon Thatch
Bantamweight: Thomas Almeida beat Brad Pickett
Welterweight: Matt Brown beat Tim Means
Welterweight: John Howard beat Cathal Pendred
Welterweight: Alex Garcia beat Mike Swick
Bantam: Cody Garbrandt beat Henry Briones
Flyweight: Louis Smolka beat Neil Seery
Lightweight: Cody Pfister beat Yosdenis Cedeno.