NEW YORK — The wait is over.
The atmosphere here at Madison Square Garden is electric as mixed martial arts’ greatest athletes get set to take center stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena for UFC 205.
The jam-packed card features three title bouts, highlighted by a champion-versus-champion battle between featherweight belt-holder Conor McGregor and lightweight king Eddie Alvarez in the lightweight championship match.
Tyron Woodley also will try to defend his welterweight title belt against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk squares off against Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the women’s strawweight title fight.
The main event card will kick off at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, but fight fans will have plenty of preliminary bouts to watch until then.
Be sure to keep it here for a live blog of McGregor-Alvarez, Woodley-Thompson and Jedrzejczyk-Kowalkiewicz with round-by-round analysis. You also can check out live results for every fight below and view a live stream of the event here.
Conor McGregor Vs. Eddie Alvarez Round-By-Round Commentary
It’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for.
Can McGregor become the first UFC fighter with belts in two weight classes? We might just witness history tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Notorious enters the octagon with a traditional Irish tune before it switches up to “I Get Money” by 50 Cent. The crowd here at Madison Square Garden is packed with McGregor supporters, many of whom are Irish.
Alvarez, who is from Philadelphia, enters with “Victory” by Puff Daddy. The song has a Rocky Balboa feel to it.
Both fighters tap gloves. McGregor goes for an early punch but slips. McGregor fans begin their “Olé” chant.
Vintage McGregor is back as he knocks Alvarez to the floor with a huge strike early in the round. Alvarez is able to get back up quickly. Moments later, McGregor knocks Alvarez to the mat again and jumps on top of him. He attempts to get a clear shot at Alvarez’s face, but he’s not able to do significant damage. Alvarez once again is able to get back on his feet.
The round ends with the crowd roaring. With two knockdowns in the round, the judges will likely give that round to McGregor.
McGregor begins the round by taunting Alvarez, putting his hands behind his back and daring Alvarez to strike him.
McGregor knocks Alvarez to the floor for a third time. Madison Square Garden is shaking as the official ends the fight. The Notorious is the new lightweight champion of the world.
McGregor is the first UFC fighter to win belts in two weight classes. History is made in New York.
Despite the win, McGregor is frustrated because they haven’t brought him both belts.
Finally, Dana White walks out with his featherweight title belt and McGregor puts both belts over his shoulders. He stands on top of the octagon cage and lifts both belts sky high.
Tyron Woodley Vs. Stephen Thompson Round-By-Round Commentary
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson enters the octagon to Tenacious D’s “Wonderboy.” Of course.
He comes into the fight as the favorite against the champion, Woodley, who comes in with “I Ain’t Turning Back” by Thi’sl feat. Flame.
Woodley defends Thompson’s kick attempt, grabs him by his leg and tosses Wonderboy to the mat. Woodley vigorously tries to put Thompson into a chokehold and fires shots to Wonderboy’s mid-section.
Woodley stands up while holding Thompson’s legs and delivers a handful of body shots before landing on top of him. Woodley delivers a few more blows as the first round comes to an end. Wonderboy’s face is bloody.
According to FightMetric, Woodley had 14 significant strikes in the first round. Wonderboy only had one.
Wonderboy’s rear-end is red after he rubs his shorts with his bloodied hands.
Woodley carries momentum to the second round, pinning Thompson to the cage. By the end of the round, though, momentum has swung a little bit toward Wonderboy’s side. For one, he’s not on the mat. Secondly, he is getting to his game and is delivering a few combos.
Thompson fires off a series of punches at Woodley and the crowd loves it. This round is a lot more even as both combatants are exchanging blows one after another.
Woodley comes out swinging hard in the middle of the fourth round. Thompson is knocked down before quickly getting back up. But moments later, Woodley delivers another fierce blow, which sends Wonderboy tumbling to the mat.
The crowd at MSG starts chanting “Wonderboy” as the challenger starts off the round with a series of kicks. This is a tight round, but it seems like Wonderboy is delivering a few more blows. It’s going to be a tight decision.
Woodley now is in full control and is repeatedly punching Wonderboy, but Wonderboy manages to stay alive in the fight.
Shortly after, Woodley puts Wonderboy in a guillotine, but Thompson somehow manages to get out of it and the crowd roars its approval.
Thompson then jumps on top of Woodley and starts throwing punches galore as time expires in the round. This is an unbelievable turnaround by Wonderboy, who was just moments away from getting knocked out earlier in the round.
Bruce Buffer has his own Steve Harvey moment.
He first announces the result: Tyron Woodley defeats Stephen Thompson via split decision (47-47, 47-47, 48-47).
But moments later, Buffer interrupts the post-fight interview between Woodley and Rogan and says that while the scores hadn’t changed, the decision was a majority draw — not a split decision as originally announced.
Strangely, when he first announced the results, Buffer left the octagon mid-sentence. When he walked back, he appeared to accidentally mutter “still” prior to reading the decision.
After all of the confusion, Woodley is still the welterweight champion.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk Vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz Round-By-Round Commentary
The first title fight of the night!
Joanna Jedrzejczyk tries to defend her strawweight title for the fourth time against fellow Poland native Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Kowalkiewicz is first to enter, as she walks into the octagon waving a Polish flag and Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” blaring from the MSG speakers. Kowalkiewicz is a huge underdog in this fight, but she has yet to lose in her MMA career and boasts a 10-0 record.
The champion also is draped with a Polish flag as she enters the octagon to an extremely aggressive Polish rock song. According to my Shazam, the song is called “Przejmij Ster W Swoje Dlonie” by Rena featuring Gutek.
The Polish fighters do not tap gloves.
They start off slow as they try to feel each other out. Aside from a few grappling battles against the cage and some nice punches from Jedrzejczyk, nothing significant happens in the first round. However, Jedrzejczyk dominated in the significant strikes category, 29-8, according to FightMetric.
Jedrzejczyk continues to out-strike Kowalkiewicz, but Kowalkiewicz drives Jedrzejczyk to the cage on a couple of occasions. Jedrzejczyk gets a positive reaction from the MSG crowd with a kick to Kowalkiewicz’s face to finish the round.
Jedrzejczyk incessantly fires kicks and punches at Kowalkiewicz. As the round continues, Jerdzejczyk’s strikes come at a faster pace. Towards the end of the round, Jedrzejczyk puts her hand on Kowalkiewicz’s mouth and then elbows her in the jaw.
After three rounds, Jedrzejczyk has 89 significant strikes. Kowalkiewicz has just 20.
Interesting note: Kowalkiewicz’s last five fights have gone the distance. While she won those fights, it’s unlikely that a belt changes hands if a fight against a champion who has defended her title numerous times goes the distance.
Kowalkiewicz gets a momentum-changing strike that sends Jedrzejczyk tumbling backwards toward the cage. Kowalkiewicz delivers a few more hard punches but Jedrzejczyk is able to get back up and regain her composure.
Jedrzejczyk rebounds at the end of the round with several significant strikes and finishes the five-minutes with a knee to Kowalkiewicz’s face.
Jedrzejczyk opens the fifth round with a combination of punches and kicks and re-establishes momentum in the fight after a scary moment in the fourth round.
The crowd cheers as the round ends with Jedrzejczyk pinning Kowalkiewicz to the cage.
Before the result is announced, Jedrzejczyk runs around the octagon with a Polish flag anticipating a win.
The announcement comes in and Jedrzejczyk defeats Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight, 49-46. This is her fourth successful title defense. This also is the sixth consecutive fight Kowalkiewicz was able to go the distance.
According to FightMetric, Jedrzejczyk had 171 significant strikes in the bout. Kowalkiewicz had just 50.
In her post-fight interview, Jedrzejczyk calls Polish girls the toughest in the world and asks the crowd if they would like to see the UFC go to Poland.
Chris Weidman Vs. Yoel Romero Round-By-Round Commentary
Yoel Romero is first to come out, entering to a classic merengue tune by Juan Luis Guerra called “Soldado.” Romero has 11 wins in his career and nine of them have come via knockout. He does a couple of backflips to end his pre-fight routine.
Hometown favorite Chris Weidman enters the octagon with various New York-themed songs like “New York State Of Mind” by Billy Joel, “Coming Home” by Diddy and “Empire State Of Mind” by Jay-Z to the Madison Square Garden crowd’s roaring approval, before switching over to “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.
Both fighters tap gloves as the fans start chanting “U-S-A” and “Let’s go Weidman.” Weidman misses on several kick attempts, but then grabs Romero by the left leg yet fails to take him down.
Weidman tries to bring down Romero on several attempts, but cannot take the Cuban to the mat.
Romero takes a knee to the face and tries to get the official’s attention because he believes he was cut.
Both fighters exchange takedown attempts, but Romero finally gets Weidman to the mat with under a minute left in the round.
Romero jumps on top of Weidman and forces him to the mat. He then throws some violent punches at Weidman as the official stops the fight. Romero climbs out of the octagon and celebrates by saluting the crowd after his TKO victory.
In his post-fight interview, Romero finds middleweight champion Michael Bisping in the crowd, who flips him the bird. Romero points at Bisping, calls him out and shouts, “You know me!”
Miesha Tate Vs. Raquel Pennington Round-By-Round Commentary
Miesha Tate makes her first appearance in the octagon since losing the women’s bantamweight belt at UFC 200 to Amanda Nunes. Her opponent? Raquel Pennington, who enters the fight as a slim underdog. Pennington has the slight height and reach advantage and has a higher significant strike rate than Tate.
Pennington makes her walk to the octagon first, entering to Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” Tate’s song of choice tonight is “Roar” by Katy Perry.
Tate starts the fight by attempting to get Pennington to the mat, but Pennington choked Tate and lifted her up in the air several times.
Tate eventually got her balance back and took down Pennington. The two grappled for a bit in a relatively slow first round. Pennington finished the first round out-striking Tate, 8-7, according to FightMetric, but Tate had the lone takedown.
Tate and Pennington battled for quite a bit on the cages, but the round had its moments, with Tate and Pennington exchanging a few blows.
While the retirement announcement comes as a shock, the fight decision is not. Pennington controlled much of the fight and Tate was never able to get a hold of her. According to FightMetric, Pennington beat Tate in the significant strikes category, 43-21.
Pennington gets off to a strong start, lifting up Tate and taking her down. While on the mat, Pennington delivers several hard punches at Tate. Tate, on the other hand, has her legs wrapped around Pennington’s neck as she tries to get out of a stranglehold.
Later in the round, Tate wraps her body around Pennington’s leg like a snake and tries to trip her up. Pennington is able to stand tall and controls much of the round.
Pennington eventually traps Tate against the cage and gets in a few more shots before throwing her down again.
Raquel Pennington wins via unanimous decision in no surprise (29-28, 30-27, 30-27). Tate shocks the crowd by telling everyone she’s retiring in her post-fight interview. She says her decision is based on the result of the fight.
Lightweight title: Conor McGregor TKO Eddie Alvarez (3:04, second round)
Welterweight title: Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson (Draw via majority decision, 47-47, 47-47, 48-47)
Women’s strawweight title: Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Middleweight: Yoel Romero TKO Chris Weidman (0:24, third round)
Women’s bantamweight: Raquel Pennington def. Miesha Tate via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Featherweight: Frankie Edgar def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Lightweight: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Michael Johnson via submission (2:31, third round)
Middleweight: Tim Boetsch TKO Rafael Natal (3:22, first round)
Welterweight: Vicente Luque KO Belal Muhammad (1:19, first round)
Catchweight: Jim Miller def. Thiago Alves via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Women’s bantamweight: Liz Carmouche def. Katlyn Chookagian via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images
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