The first of 3 title fights of the night, the battle for Polish supremacy pitted Joanna J. against Karolina K. It seems that Joanna did not receive the love she had grown accustomed to, as her adversary had gained a lot of support in the lead up. Karolina looked at it as a fight to see who the best in Poland was, while the champion sought to make the statement that she is still the best in the world. In the bout, Joanna settled in and landed early and often. As the fight progressed, the challenger found her range and settled in, not allowing J. to land the combinations that she's known for. Then, in the third, Karolina landed a right hand flush on the champion, rocking her. Joanna recovered, but from that point on, she realized this was going to be her toughest test. Joanna ended up winning the fight by decision.
For Joanna, this proved to Poland and the world she is indisputably the best strawweight in the world. She has run through the division with very few complications. I'm not sure what's next for the Polish superstar. As for Karolina, she showed promise, but she is just a less technical version of the champ. She needs to refine her striking should she want to take the strap. She'll likely fight someone in the top 5 next, possibly Claudia Gahdela, assuming she wins in Brazil?
2. Split Decision..?
After snatching Robbie Lawler's soul, Tyron Woodley was set on showing the UFC universe that he isn't an underdog and deserves their praise. Insert Stephen Thompson. The co-main event of the night saw the two square off for the welterweight belt.
The first round was easily won by Woodley who secured the takedown and punished Thompson, who only landed a single strike. The second was much closer and could go either way. The third round went to "Wonderboy" due to his octagon control and keeping his distance as he struck the tiring champion. Then came the fourth.
The fourth round of the co-main event of UFC 205 was one to remember. It started with the two again establishing their range. Everything changed with one BOMB from Woodley. He wobbled and dropped Thompson, and "The Chosen One" moved in for the kill. He started unloading bomb after bomb, dropping Thompson a total of 3 times in the round. Then he made a terrible mistake. He went for a guillotine. By the grace of God, Thompson survived the deep guillotine and made it to the fifth. "Wonderboy" won the fifth 10-9.
The conclusion was a little wonky with some judge shenanigans, but it ended up with a majority draw. It was FOTN and for good reason. I'm pulling for an immediate rematch, but I think the fight helped Woodley's reputation and popularity. In the potential rematch, I'd like to see Thompson be more active, as he only landed 60 strikes in the 5 round fight.
3. The King runs ALL DIVISIONS
The finale to the UFC's NYC debut was a champion vs champion bout between Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor. A lot of doubters said that Conor couldn't beet a wrestler with a full camp, referring to the Chad Mendes fight. Alvarez, a larger opponent than Conor's featherweight opponents, had said he would expose Conor, saying "There's no Santa Claus." Conor had other plans. In the lead up, he said he believed it would be a first round KO, but if he was tough, Eddie could take it to the second, but he wouldn't be the same man. Mystic Mac was right. He stuffed Alvarez's takedown attempts. He landed the left at will, dropping the lightweight champion. He managed to make it to the second before Conor four-pieced him, causing the final knockdown before Big John had to step in.
Conor is now the only individual to hold belts in 2 divisions simultaneously. He called it from the start, and he would not be denied. In terms of legacy, this has capped off one of the most impressive year and a half runs in combat sports in history. He has successfully changed the game. Doubt him now, I dare you, and he does, too.