UFC 205 was hyped as the biggest UFC event ever, and with a stacked card to back it up, expectations were high. With “The Notorious” Conor McGregor headlining it was always going to be a big draw, but the bigger question was would it really deliver all the action it promised?
The main card kicked off with former Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate looking to rebound from the loss of her title against former Ultimate Fighter protégé Raquel Pennington. Pennington won by unanimous decision mainly due to her striking. More significant was Tate announcing her retirement after the fight, citing her lacklustre performance and lack of drive. Having been in the sport for almost a decade, it will be sad to see her leave the sport, the woman whose fierce rivalry with Ronda Rousey persuaded the UFC to start their own women’s division, but she goes out as one the best Bantamweights to ever grace the octagon.
Next up was what many saw a number one contender’s match for the Middleweight Championship with hometown hero Chris Weidman facing Olympic wrestling silver medallist Yoel Romero. Weidman took the first round with a good variety of striking and Romero the second with his world class wrestling, but it was spectacular flying knee to the head by Romero in the third round that gave him the victory. After the match current Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping shared his thoughts on Romero earning a title shot, giving him a thumbs down as well as the bird.
The first championship fight was dubbed the “Polish Civil War”, which saw Karolina Kowalkiewicz challenge Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the Strawweight title. Although both were undefeated professionally going into the fight, Jędrzejczyk did hold an amateur win over the challenger. The champion dominated the first three rounds with her deadly combinations, however this did little to deter Kowalkiewicz. Her persistence paid off in the fourth round where a right hand visibly rocked the champion and she followed this up by pressuring her against the cage. However, Jędrzejczyk held on and recomposed herself in the fifth round to retain her belt.
Following the women’s contest was Tyron Woodley against Stephen Thompson. Woodley took the first round with some good ground control, but in the next two rounds Thompson was connecting with his variety of kicks. However, it was the fourth round that the fight truly came when a thunderous right hand by the champion led to a deep guillotine choke, but somehow Thompson managed to wriggle out. The final round again went to the challenger on points, with Woodley making little attempt to attack, perhaps feeling that he had done enough to win the fight. In the end it was declared a split draw and Woodley retaining, although the disappointment on his face showed that this was not how he wanted to retain.
The main event of the evening was always going to belong to that of the Notorious One and as usual he delivered on all of his promises. He dominated Alvarez with superior striking, managing to floor his opponent three times in the first round. Any attempts to grapple were stuffed by McGregor with relative ease. It was a four punch combination in the second round that left Alvarez on the floor, with another two shots forcing the referee to stop the fight. After the fight McGregor said “I want to apologise … to absolutely no one!” in reference to his insults of the UFC roster and he was also unhappy about not initially having two belts to celebrate with, forgetting to bring his own out and eventually having to use Woodley’s instead.
UFC 205 delivered on a history making fight with McGregor becoming the first simultaneous champion and setting a new gate record. The question is what will be next for the UFC’s biggest draw, will he have to choose between the belts or will just defend both alternatively? Only time will tell, but for now we can all enjoy this history making moment.
Photo Credit: Reuters