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.
Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie is already putting the legend label on McGregor:
Conor McGregor knocks out Eddie Alvarez to become the first simultaneous two weight UFC champion. 145lbs and 155lbs. Legend status achieved.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 13, 2016
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:
Hopefully this puts an end to the talk of who the biggest star in the sport is. Was McGregor going in, but it’s absolutely undeniable now.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 13, 2016
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
Main Card Matchup Winner 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:
See right there Jeremy Stephens fell victim to the common misconception that Frankie Edgar can be knocked out. It’s an easy mistake to make.
— Chad Dundas (@chaddundas) November 13, 2016
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: "I actually tore my MCL and had to get an epidural in my back, but nothing was going to stop me from fighting in New York City."
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) November 13, 2016
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:
4th successful title defense for Joanna Jedrzejczyk (last 3 by unanimous decision); 7th UFC win sets record for most by female #UFC205
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2016
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:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk has out-landed her opponents 746-245 in significant strikes over her past five UFC appearances. #UFC205
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 13, 2016
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.