UFC made its much-anticipated debut at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, with Conor McGregor defeating Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 to win the lightweight championship and become the first fighter in history to hold two titles at the same time.
McGregor nearly made quick work of the champion, dropping Alvarez early in the first round with a hard left, via the UFC on Twitter:
Alvarez was knocked down a second time in the first round, again managing to survive. It was a clear 10-8 round on observation, but McGregor would finish the match with a knockout in the second round to avoid having the judges make the decision.
Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting wanted to let any of the doubters know McGregor is definitively the No. 1 guy in the sport right now:
Even with his over-the-top pre-fight antics, McGregor is a sure bet to draw a crowd, and his ability to cut a promo selling a fight and/or calling out an opponent is the best in the business and why he gets to headline historic shows like this one.
McGregor vs. Alvarez was just one of the major attractions on the show. Here are the full results and scores from all 11 fights from Madison Square Garden:
|UFC 205 Results and Scorecards|
|Lightweight Championship||Eddie Alvarez (c) vs. Conor McGregor||McGregor via 2nd-round TKO (Punches)|
|Welterweight Championship||Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Stephen Thompson||Woodley retains via majority draw (47-47, 47-47, 48-47)|
|Women's Strawweight Championship||Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz||Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)|
|Middleweight||Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero||Romero via TKO (Flying Knee and Punches)|
|Women's Bantamweight||Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington||Pennington via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)|
|Preliminary Card (FS1)||Matchup||Winner|
|Featherweight||Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens||Edgar via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)|
|Lightweight||Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson||Nurmagomedov via 3rd-round submission (Kimura)|
|Middleweight||Rafael Natal vs. Tim Boetsch||Boetsch via 1st-round TKO (Punches)|
|Welterweight||Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad||Luque via 1st-round KO (Punches)|
|Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)||Matchup||Winner|
|Catchweight (162.6 lbs)||Thiago Alves vs. Jim Miller||Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)|
|Women's Bantamweight||Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian||Carmouche via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28|
Highlights and Results
Edgar and Stephens Steal the Show
In the preliminary card main event, Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens put on a fantastic show. The second round, in particular, belongs on the short list of best rounds of 2016.
Stephens appeared to come within an eyelash of becoming the first person to knock Edgar out, but the former lightweight champion survived the barrage. Edgar was wobbly as he made it back to his feet, doing a terrific job of keeping Stephens away so he could recover.
Minutes later, Edgar had Stephens on the ground and nearly choked him out on two different occasions before the bell ended the round.
B/R's Chad Dundas tried to pinpoint exactly where Stephens made his mistake in that second round:
If Edgar wasn't going to be knocked out in that moment, especially with how limp his body appeared after getting to his feet, odds are good no one will ever be able to put him down.
After the officials gave Edgar a unanimous-decision win, he said he stepped in to the Octagon banged up, per Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting:
Edgar has long been one of the toughest fighters in mixed martial arts. Anyone who doubted that doesn't have a leg to stand on after what he endured just to fight at MSG, let alone how he battled Stephens for 15 minutes.
Miesha Tate's Career Ends
After losing the UFC women's bantamweight championship in her previous fight against Amanda Nunes, Miesha Tate would seem to be on a quest to regain the belt.
Instead, the 30-year-old came out flat against Raquel Pennington and lost by unanimous decision after being outpointed for three rounds. Pennington nearly ended the fight in the first round with a vicious standing choke in which she was briefly carrying Tate around, via the UFC:
Following the judges' decision, Tate dropped a bombshell on the crowd with this announcement, per UFC:
UFC President Dana White told Submission Radio Australia (h/t Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting) that Tate previously contemplated retirement last year before she made a comeback to challenge Holly Holm for the bantamweight title. She defeated Holm to capture the UFC title for the first time in her career.
Now, after 26 career fights and consecutive losses, Tate is hanging up the gloves for real. The end result wasn't what she wanted, but going out at Madison Square Garden is hardly a bad trade.
Jedrzejczyk Makes History
The unstoppable force that is Joanna Jedrzejczyk keeps rolling along. She successfully defended the women's strawweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Kowalkiewicz did make things interesting in the fourth round with a hard right hand that connected with Jedrzejczyk's nose and left the champion in a brief daze. After the two women traded punches, Jedrzejczyk got her wits back to make it through the round.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, Jedrzejczyk set a new benchmark for female fighters in UFC with her victory:
In addition to her seventh UFC victory, Jedrzejczyk owns a perfect 13-0 record in her career. Mike Bohn of USA Today noted how dominant the champ has been in her last five UFC fights:
Jedrzejczyk is making a real case for being the most dominant champion in UFC, male or female. She was tested, for at least one brief moment, against Kowalkiewicz before gathering herself and doing what she's done so well for the last four years.