UFC 205 was the perfect way for the UFC brand to cement its arrival in New York and declare that it’s here to stay. It marked the first fight held in the state of New York since mixed martial arts had its ban lifted.
Connor McGregor v Eddie Alvarez was the co-main event of the evening. This was the first time since UFC 94 that two titleholders were going against each other. McGregor made history by beating Alvarez and becoming the first fighter to simultaneously hold two titles in the UFC. McGregor also became the seventh fighter to record wins across three divisions.
UFC 205 wasn’t a one trick pony. Bouts between Mischa Tate and her student come challenger Racquel Pennington served up a bite of drama. Tate’s usually calculated approach in the octagon was never seen, as she wildly threw herself in for takedowns and dynamic maneuvers. Moments after Pennington won via unanimous decision, Tate announced her retirement, and given what could be seen from the fight, she didn’t have any fight left in her.
Following Tate’s bout, Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero laid an absolute smackdown on Chris Weidman. Weidman was ahead going into the 3rd, until he shot for a takedown at the precise moment Romero launched himself at Weidman. The result, a nasty knee to the head causing Weidman to drop like a sack of spuds. Romero pounced, laying a flurry of punches on Weidman’s head causing the 3rd round knockout. The win has propelled the self proclaimed Soldier of God closer towards a bout with current Middleweight champ Michael Bisping.
Tyron Woodley, the champ and Stephen Thompson the number one contender for the Welterweight title went head to head in what turned out to be a cracker of a fight. These two warriors left it all in the ring. The outcome was a draw, a very rare sight in the UFC nowadays.
The card was jam packed full of stars. Joanna Jedrzejcyk the straweight division champion held her belt, Frankie Edgar got a win, up and coming star Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tim Boetsch among others were all fighters who were victorious under the Bright lights of Maddison Square Garden. This card packed a punch and the City of New York thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
How long till boxing waves the white flag? Maddison Square Garden has always been revered as a site where boxing immortality is made. Fights such as Holyfield v Lewis (1999), Marciano v Louis (1951), Ali v Frazier I & II (1971 & 1974) have helped write the gospel of Maddison Square Garden. These historic events have shaped fight night in New York City. UFC 205 has parked its car, popped the boot, taken out a lead pipe and beatdown what is left of boxing.
Mayweather and Pacquiao, which was a highly underwhelming boxing match in itself, was the last globally significant event the sport has held. Nowadaysm boxing is lucky if it produces 2 big fights a year. The UFC seems to have monthly showdowns where the fights that occur, are the fights the fans want.
Unless boxing changes its stubborn ways, and takes away the monolithic power that promoters seems to have, they won’t be able to keep up with the meteoric rise of the UFC. To be fair, I believe the ship sailed on Boxing a long time to ago.
The UFC is well and truly here, and in the words of their dual division champion Connor McGregor, They’re not here to take part, they’re here to take over.