After years and years of bureaucratic battle, the UFC finally made its debut in New York City with UFC 205 at the hallowed Madison Square Garden. The lineup including four UFC champions, numerous former champs and a handful of former title challengers.
Here's a recap of the madness in Manhattan for those who missed it!
The Main Card:
McGregor Dominates Alvarez to Second-Round TKO
The main event of the evening saw UFC featherweight champ Conor McGregor attempt to make history as the first UFC fighter to hold two titles in two divisions simultaneously. He made this attempt by challenging Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title.
It was a blowout for the Irishman.
By the time the first round had ended, he had already dropped his foe two times. Moments into the second, he did so again, and this time, Alvarez stayed down. All three of McGregor's knockdowns were the result of his world-famous left-hand.
Having made his history, McGregor now has an important decision to make: which belt to defend first. The Irishman will make this decision with a 21-3 record. Alvarez, meanwhile, returns to the contendership picture with a 28-5 overall record.
Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson Battle to Epic Draw
The co-main event of the evening saw welterweight champion Tyron Woodley attempt to defend his title against streaking challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. It was a scrap for the ages.
Over the course this five round war, Woodley undoubtedly achieved the more emphatic moments of success, nearly polishing is foe of with punches on two occasions, and almost stopping things with a guillotine choke in the fourth. When Woodley wasn't pushing Thompson to the brink, however, he was being soundly out-worked on the feet. The end result was a razor close fight and a tough call for the judges.
Initially, the bout was read incorrectly as a split decision win for Woodley. Shortly thereafter, the result was corrected to a majority draw. With this result, Woodley retains his title—though surely not in the fashion he had hoped.
The welterweight champ is now 16-3-1 in sum. Thompson, meanwhile, now sits at 13-1-1 overall.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk Retains Title with Decision Win
The first of UFC 205's three title fights pitted strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk against challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Both Polish stars entered the bout with undefeated records.
As the odds suggested, Jedrzejczyk won this fight, beating her challenger with the same striking skill that has carried her to victory against all of her previous opponents. By the time the final bell chimed, she'd done more than enough to earn the judges' favor.
The win marks Jedrzejczyk's fourth successful title defense. With this successful defense, she's now 13-0. Kowalkiewicz, meanwhile, comes up short for the first time as a pro. She's now 10-1 overall.
Romero Decimates Weidman in the Third
The second bout of the main card paired former middleweight champ Chris Weidman with streaking former Olympian Yoel Romero. The bout had the potential to thrust the winner into position for a title shot against middleweight champ Michael Bisping.
Though Weidman had some success in the first two rounds, he was ultimately levelled in the third, when Romero unleashed a rocket-fuelled flying knee that left him gushing blood on the canvas.
The knockout, which is Romero's fifth third-round win, moves him to an impressive 12-1 overall. With the win, he's likely to receive the next middleweight title shot. Weidman, meanwhile, stumbles onto the first two-fight skid of his impressive career. He's now 13-2 overall.
Raquel Pennington Upsets Miesha Tate, Tate Retires
The main card was kicked off by a compelling women's bantamweight bout. In one corner, we had former champion Miesha Tate. In the other, we had the gritty Raquel Pennington, who Tate coached on The Ultimate Fighter.
In an outcome that registered as a substantial upset, Pennington was able to outgun her veteran foe for a unanimous decision win. She did so by outdoing her foe on the feet and on the mat.
With the win, Pennington enters onto an impressive, four-fight streak. She's now 9-5 overall—a record that is hardly indicative of her talent. Tate, meanwhile, enters onto a two-fight losing streak. Convinced that she's no longer able to to compete at the top level, the former champ opted to retire after her loss. She'll do so with an 18-7 overall record.
Frankie Edgar Outworks Jeremy Stephens to UD
The final bout of the prelims pitted former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar with brick-fisted veteran Jeremy Stephens in a high-stakes featherweight showdown.
Though Edgar was very nearly turned off by a second-round Stephens head kick, he was the better man throughout the rest of the fight, landing takedowns at will, threatening with submission attempts and out-landing his foe on the feet. By the time the third round ended, he'd done more than enough to earn the judges' favor.
With this decision win, Edgar rebounds from a decision loss to Jose Aldo. He's now 20-5-1 overall. Stephens, meanwhile, returns to the loss column after a nice win over Renan Barão.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Mauls Michael Johnson, Locks Up Kimura
When Michael Johnson and Khabib Nurmagomedov stepped onto the canvas together, one of two outcomes seemed possible: either Johnson would dictate the course of the fight on the feet, or Nurmagomedov would control things on the mat.
In the end, the latter was true, as Nurmagomedov mauled his foe on the canvas en route to a third-round kimura. It was one of the most impressive wins of the Russian's career.
With the win, Nurmagomedov improves his record to a ridiculous 24-0. It's getting harder and harder to deny that the Dagestan native deserves a lightweight title shot. Johnson, on the other hand, returns to the loss column after a recent KO defeat of Dustin Poirier. He's now 17-11 overall.
Tim Boetsch Wrecks Rafael Natal in One
The second bout of the televised prelims was an intriguing clash of middleweight veterans. In one corner we had Brazil's Rafael Natal. In the other, we had brick-fisted American Tim Boetsch.
The story of this one was Boetsch's ridiculous punching power. As the first round wore down, the American unloaded a cracking right hand that sent his foe careening to the mat. A few follow up punches later and the deed was done.
With the win, Boetsch extends his win-streak to two, having recently defeated the late Josh Samman. He's now 20-10 overall. Natal, meanwhile, enters onto a two-fight skid. He assumes an overall record 21-8-1.
Vincente Luque Dazzles with First-Round KO
Originally, Belal Muhammed was expected to take on Lyman Good on UFC 205's undercard. When Good was pulled from the bout after a potential USADA violation, however, Muhammed was forced to shift his focus to late-replacement Vincent Luque.
Despite the brevity of the time he had to prepare, Luque made the most of this opportunity, flattening his foe with a first-round left hook, and polishing him off with a wild series of ground strikes.
In victory, the Brazilian extends his streak to 4. He's now 11-5-1 overall. Muhammed, meanwhile, returns to the loss column after a nice win over Augusto Montano. He's now 10-2 overall.
Jim Miller Out-Grapples Thiago Alves to Decision Win
The second bout of the night pitted former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves with New Jersey's Jim Miller. The bout was intended to mark Alves' debut in the lightweight division, but unfortunately, he missed weight by 6.6 pounds.
Though Alves showed flashes of the brilliant striking that made him a title challenger at welterweight, he simply couldn't hang with Miller on the mat. The Brazilian was repeatedly taken down by his American foe, at which point he was easily controlled and threatened with several submission attempts. The end result was a clear-cut unanimous win for Miller.
In victory, Miller extends his win-streak to 3, having bested Takanori Gomi and Joe Lauzon in his two most recent bouts. He's now 28-8 overall. Alves, meanwhile, falls onto a two-fight skid, having lost his last bout to Carlos Condit. He's now 21-11 overall.
Liz Carmouche Decisions Katyln Chookagian
The action began in the women's bantamweight division, as Liz Carmouche took on New Jersey's Katlyn Chookagian. Though Chookagian put forth a valiant effort, she was ultimately outclassed by her veteran opponent, surrendering a split decision win as a result.
With the win, Carmouche moves to 11-5 overall 3-3 in the Octagon. Chookagian, meanwhile, loses for the first time as a pro. She's now 8-1 overall and 1-1 in her first two bouts with the UFC.
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