The preliminary fights were headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov - Michael Johnson and Frankie Edgar-Jeremy Stephens. Both fights are looked at as #1 contender fights, the winner getting the next title shot in their division.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens headlined the preliminaries and round 1 started with Edgar trying numerous times to take Stephens down. Nothing substantial as far as offense goes in round 1, Edgar staying away from Stephens' powerful punches while using quick jabs to counter. Towards the end of the round an inadvertent eye poke temporarily stops the action as the ref calls a doctor in to check on Frankie Edgar, after clearing him to fight and they trade a few shots before the end of the round.
Frankie Edgar begins round 3 by going for a takedown again, and gets one by catching a Stephens kick and taking him down. Edgar dominates on the ground for the next 3 minutes, with Stephens finally getting back to his feet around the 2 minute mark. Edgar then tries to get it back to the ground but is denied by Stephens, but Stephens isn't able to close the distance and land the necessary strikes to get the finish the he needed in order to win.
Frankie Edgar is now in a weird spot, he's likely the #1 contender but may not get a shot. The current champ, Conor McGregor, is going for the lightweight belt and will likely forfeit his featherweight title if he wins, and the interim featherweight champ is Jose Aldo who beat Edgar for the belt. Edgar will likely have to see how this plays out, with no title shot guaranteed in his future.
RAQUEL PENNINGTON VS MIESHA TATE
The main card kicks off with a women's bantamweight bout. Raquel Pennington was a contestant on the Ultimate Fighter show, and Miesha Tate was her coach that season. "Rocky" started her UFC career at 2-2 but is now on a 3 fight win streak, while Tate is looking to get back into the win column here after losing her bantamweight title to Amanda Nunes back at UFC 200.
Pennington starts out by using her boxing to land big punches while Tate is trying to go for a takedown. They get into a clinch and Pennington looks to lock in a guillotine, but Tate fights out of it after a few tries of pushing off the cage. Once she is free, Miesha then was able to get the takedown and looks to take her back up against the cage. She couldn't get good enough position to lock in anything though, and just takes her down again before the bell in hopes of "stealing" that round.
Miesha Tate must have felt her own desperation, as she came out in round 3 swinging wildly in hopes of landing something, but Pennington punched back and landed some stiff shots while avoiding Miesha's punches. The fight then went to the ground after a failed attempt by Tate, which put Pennington in top position for some ground and pound. Tate saw an opportunity to go for a triangle choke, but Rocky defended it well, switched positions and landed some more shots from top position. Pennington stood up to defend a heel hook submission and escapes, leaving Tate to defend herself while on her back. In the final minute, Pennington remained the aggressor as she clinched up with Tate and landed a few big strikes followed by tripping her down to the mat and landing some hammer fists as the bell rings.
RESULT: RAQUEL PENNINGTON DEFEATS MIESHA TATE BY UNANIMOUS DECISION
CHRIS WEIDMAN VS YOEL ROMERO
Chris Weidman finally gets to fight in front of hometown fans now that the MMA ban is lifted. Romero is making his return from a 6 month suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. This fight is more than likely for the #1 contender in the middleweight division, both have said that a win here and they will demand for one.
Round 1 starts by Weidman remaining very cautious of Romero's strength, both fighters coming in looking timid as Romero does not want to get in a wrestling match with Weidman. Romero lands a big kick to the ribs that forces Weidman to go for the takedown before Romero could do any more damage. After getting a short-lived takedown, Weidman then lands a big kick along with a few other low kicks to Romero's leg. They end up in a clinch that Weidman controls to end the 1st round.
With it looking like each fighter won a round each, this will be the deciding round if it goes the distance. It didn't get there though, as Weidman tries for a takedown as Romero launches a flying knee that connects and knocks Weidman out cold. Romero got a punch or two in before the ref could jump in and stop the fight, leaving Weidman busted up bleeding on the canvas.
After winning his first 9 UFC fights, Weidman has now lost two straight. The former champ was hoping that he would earn a title shot with a win here, now it seems as though he will have to win a few fights before getting back into the title picture. Romero should be in line to get the next middleweight fight now. Current champ, Michael Bisping wants to fight before the year is over and while Romero won't be taking that fight, he should get the winner of it.
KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ VS JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (C)
The first of 3 title fights starts here, with the women's strawweight title on the line.
Joanna begins the round with some sharp leg kicks, mixing in some right hands as well. Karolina tries pushing the pace and getting the champ in the clinch, but her attempts are unsuccessful as Joanna keeps the fight standing. Joanna continues her striking while thwarting another clinch attempt to end round 1.
Karolina continues to try to clinch up to begin round 2. Joanna finds her rhythm with some sharp punches and counterpunches, as Karolina keeps trying to get her up against the cage. She briefly gets a clinch, but Joanna quickly disengages and continues to pick her apart with her strikes. The last attempt to tie up ends with Joanna breaking free and landing a big elbow as they stay standing for the remainder of round 2.
Round 3 again begins with a clinch attempt, followed by an escape. Joanna then laces a few big shots, and at this point Karolina is doing more dodging than anything. Joanna continues to be the aggressor, throwing numerous punches and leg kicks before blocking another clinch attempt. Then, Joanna switches things up and engages in the clinch, controlling Karolina up against the fence. They break with little time left in the round, Karolina throws some punches that all miss as the round ends.
Joanna starts round 5 by clinching Karolina, who quickly shoves her away and follows it with a nice elbow.Joanna then sticks to her gameplan and utilizes her leg kicks, following them up with some big strikes whenever Karolina tries countering.Both fighters then start throwing strikes recklessly, both connecting with some major shots but with Joanna getting the better of it. She then gets Karolina up against the cage and hits her with a few strikes as Karolina tries to escape. The round comes to a close with both women standing up and throwing strikes.
Joanna keeps her title and her dominance over the straw-weight division, though this was easily her toughest title defense. There's not much left for the champ to accomplish, a fight with Jessica Andrade or a re-match against Carla Esparza does make sense but this could lead to an opening of a women's flyweight division .
For Karolina, she put up a major fight against the division's top striker and nearly had it in round 4. This could lead to a rematch down the road against Joanna, with possibly having to fight someone in between.
STEPHEN THOMPSON VS TYRON WOODLEY (C)
The welterweight belt is up for grabs here, with a rare situation of the champ, Tyron Woodley, being the underdog in this fight.
Both fighters come out in round 1 as they try to find their distance, with more missed strikes than anything. Woodley then catches a kick and takes Thompson down, throwing left hands to his body while in half guard. He get in position for some ground and pound, switching positions well as Thompson tries to wiggle out, and ends round 1 with some elbows as the round was all Woodley.
Both fighters are swinging and missing to begin round 3, as nearly half the round goes by without any significant offense. Woodley then comes in with a jab which is countered by a big kick by Thompson, followed by a low kick that almost makes Woodley fall to the ground. As Thompson seems to have this round in the bag, continuing to land some kicks, then with 10 seconds remaining Woodley lands a couple big punches which could have stole the round.
The fighters come out hesitant in round 5, maybe feeling some fatigue after round 4's furious submission attempts by Woodley. Thompson begins to close distance and stings Woodley with some combinations. Woodley lands a kick in attempts to set up a combo but Thompson thwarts his punches. Thompson then lands a kick and follows it up by a good jab, as Woodley seems be waiting for the bell, and we are headed for a decision.
RESULT: TYRON WOODLEY AND STEPHEN THOMPSON FIGHT TO A MAJORITY DRAW
This was a really weird post fight, beginning with Bruce Buffer leaving the octagon to convene as the fighters were awaiting the decision announcement. After the delay, Buffer then comes in an announces that the winner by majority decision was Tyron Woodley. Almost immediately after the announcement was made, Dana White got both Woodley and Thompson from their corners to re-do the official announcement since there was a mistake. Bruce Buffer then announces that instead of a majority decision that it is considered a majority draw, neither fighter wins and Tyron Woodley retains his belt.
A rematch needs to happen, no fighter won and it was an excellent fight, Woodley vs Thompson 2 needs to be in the works.
The lightweight title is on the line, Alvarez looks to defend his title for the first time while McGregor looks to become the first ever UFC fighter to hold 2 belts at one time.
RESULT: CONOR MCGREGOR WINS BY TKO
This fight was all McGregor, and the new lightweight champ let everyone know how good he in the post-fight octagon interview. He demanded that he have both belts present, got his wish and posed atop the cage with both belts in hand.
For Alvarez, his 3 fight win streak is snapped and all lightweight fighters, including him, will be left in limbo while the UFC world waits on Conor McGregor. If McGregor keeps the lightweight belt but is remaining out for the next 9 months or so, then we could see him take on Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson in the future, though both fighters are awaiting a title shot so they may also be sitting out for an extended period of time while they wait to see what is going to happen with the lightweight belt.
UFC 205 OVERALL
What a great card, and what great performances across the board. The UFC needed this after the debacle that UFC 200 was, and it delivered big time. The entire card was filled with great fights and the UFC broke a bunch of PPV records, their first time in New York City was a giant success for the company and there is little doubt that they will be back, sooner rather than later.