UFC lightweight title: Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor live round-by-round coverage
Eddie Alvarez has traveled the world fighting, engaging in many thrilling classics for various organizations before arriving in the UFC. He wasn’t impressive early in the UFC but knocked out Rafael Dos Anjos to capture the UFC lightweight title. Now Alvarez gets the biggest fight of his career, a huge money showdown against the Irish superstar Conor McGregor. The UFC featherweight champion McGregor seeks to become the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in different divisions. Alvarez and McGregor have engaged in a war of words in advance of this showdown, with Alvarez downplaying McGregor’s ability.
Round 1. Alvarez opens with a leg kick. McGregor drops Alvarez with a hook. He looks to finish but Alvarez recovers really quickly and gets back to his feet. Alvarez charges in and gets dropped to a knee again, although that looked like more of a slip. McGregor drops Alvarez with another punch and goes to the ground to pursue Alvarez. He ends up in North-South position. Alvarez gets up and eats another hard punch. Alvarez lands a nice straight right hand. McGregor blocks a takedown attempt. 10-8 McGregor.
Round 2. McGregor catches Alvarez with a stiff 2 punch combination. Alvarez goes for a takedown but it is blocked. McGregor puts his hands behind his back to mock Alvarez. Alvarez moves in with a nice right hand and another moments later but McGregor counters with a harder punch that sends Alvarez off balance. Alvarez looks for a takedown up against the cage. McGregor hurts Alvarez with another punishing combination. Alvarez goes down, McGregor lands more shots on the ground and the referee mercifully calls it off.
Winner: Conor McGregor, TKO, round 2.
Conor McGregor’s storybook career continues. After talking an almost unprecedented amount of trash about what he would accomplish, he has backed it up pretty much every step of the way. Alvarez disrespected him and denied his ability and McGregor humbled and humiliated Alvarez in a one sided beatdown.
With McGregor now holding gold in two weight classes, it’s fascinating where things go from here. Jose Aldo stands out as the top featherweight contender. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are the top contenders at lightweight. Nate Diaz and Tyron Woodley linger as well. McGregor has no shortage of future challenges but it’s hard for anyone to deny him his due at this point.
UFC welterweight title: Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson live round-by-round coverage
Woodley, a high level wrestler with raw knockout power, captured the UFC welterweight title from Robbie Lawler in his last fight. He has a dangerous opponent for his first defense in the favored Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Thompson comes from a karate and kickboxing background. He has adapted his distinct standup style for MMA and has come into his own in recent fights. Woodley and Thompson make for an interesting clash of styles.
Round 1. The feeling out process takes quite a while with neither man throwing much. Woodley catches a kick two minutes in and uses it to take Thompson down. Woodley lands some elbows and punches on the ground. Thompson is able to neutralize Woodley pretty well on the ground but isn’t able to do much offensively himself. Woodley opens up a cut right around the eyes of Thompson late. 10-9 Woodley.
Round 2. Thompson is walking down Woodley but not throwing much, perhaps spooked a little bit by the way Woodley caught a kick for a takedown in the first. Woodley gets a clinch by the cage. Nothing ends up happening and they break. Woodley lands a nice spinning kick to the body. Woodley is standing stationary by the cage too much. Thompson lands a nice straight left hand. 10-9 Thompson.
Round 3. Woodley charges in looking to land a power shot early. Thompson is the pursuer more often than not but he isn’t attacking as much as he has in recent fights. Thompson does land a hard right hand by the cage, where Woodley has spent too much time. Woodley may have noticed that himself as he returns more to the center of the Octagon in the final couple minutes of the round. They open up late with Woodley landing a few hard punches. 10-9 Thompson.
Round 4. They trade jabs early in the round. Woodley drops Thompson with a punch and moves forward looking to close the show. He drops Thompson again with another hard right hand and punishes him with big punches up against the cage. Thompson stands up but Woodley keeps the offense on. He hammers Thompson with knees to the body and Thompson tumbles down. Woodley grabs a guillotine choke but then lets it go. Woodley goes for it again. He sinks it deep and pulls guard. Woodley really squeezes, looking for the submission while Thompson fights to avoid submitting. Thompson finally gets his head out with a minute left in the round. Thompson has top position and he lands some punches from there as the round concludes. 10-8 Woodley.
Round 5. Thompson is the aggressor in the final round, walking Woodley down and throwing some of his unique kicks. Woodley is spending too much time with his back against the cage as was the case earlier in the fight. Thompson lands a couple of combinations. Woodley moves in with a pair of lunging power punches of his own. Thompson connects with a few nice punches late. 10-9 Thompson, 47-47 draw.
Result: Majority Draw (47-47, 47-47, 48-47).
The fight was initially announced as a win for Woodley although with those scores. The crowd didn’t like the decision but Woodley had the best moments in the fight and Thompson’s rounds were very close. Each man presented unique challenges for the other that made it a tricky, back and forth struggle.
UFC women’s strawweight title: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz live round-by-round coverage
Jedrzejczyk and Kowalkiewicz are rivals from Poland, as they fought as amateurs back in 2012 with Jedrzejczyk coming out on top. Both are undefeated as pros and Kowalkiewicz will seek to unseat her rival. Jedrzejczyk’s calling card is her high level striking and she has dominated her division in the UFC. Kowalkiewicz won three in a row in the UFC to earn this title shot.
Round 1. Joanna demonstrates her hand speed early, landing some quick punches to Karolina. Joanna catches Karolina with a hard combination including a nice looping punch. Karolina seems content to stand but Joanna is getting off more and landing better. Karolina clinches against the cage but Joanna quickly turns her around and they grappled for position. They return to distance late with neither fighter having a marked advantage. 10-9 Joanna.
Round 2. Karolina looks for a takedown. Joanna blocks that, lands a hard punch, and separates. Karolina gets caught coming in a couple times. She’s having difficulty dealing with that hand speed of Joanna. Karolina catches a kick and looks for a takedown. She has a pretty solid grip with a double leg but still can’t get it on Joanna. Joanna lands a nice knee and a punch in the clinch. Joanna lands a head kick and spinning back fist late. 10-9 Joanna.
Round 3. Karolina again looks for a takedown but doesn’t come close. Karolina is talented enough to ensure it isn’t a blowout in the standup but Joanna is in full control. Joanna lands a couple knees to the body and hooks. Joanna is doing well with her low kicks, mixing them in at the end of her combinations. Joanna has over triple the strikes of Karolina thus far. 10-9 Joanna.
Round 4. Joanna keeps Karolina at bay with some front kicks early. Karolina clinches. Karolina hurts Joanna with a punch out of nowhere and moves in looking to close the fight. She is opening up on Joanna in quite the turn of events. Joanna fires back and then clinches. Joanna takes Karolina down but Karolina gets back up in a hurry. The action picks up down the stretch with both women throwing a lot and connecting with some solid shots. 10-9 Karolina.
Round 5. They hug before the start of the final round. The fight progresses much like in the previous rounds with Joanna landing more but Karolina hanging in there. Karolina catches Joanna with a nice combination and Joanna fires back in response. Karolina makes a couple attempts at a spinning back fist. Joanna punishes Karolina in the clinch with punches and the fight comes to an end. 10-9 Joanna, 49-46 Joanna.
Winner: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
That wasn’t a terribly exciting fight in large part because Jedrzejczyk was comfortably in control throughout. However, both fighters demonstrated their skill and Kowalkiewicz even threatened Jedrzejczyk in the fourth.
Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero: Live round-by-round coverage
Chris Weidman is the popular former UFC middleweight champion who ended the long UFC unbeaten streak of the legendary Anderson Silva. He dropped his title in his last fight to Luke Rockhold, and he now returns looking to earn a shot at that title against Michael Bisping. The 13-1 New York native has long been targeted for the UFC’s Madison Square Garden debut. Yoel Romero is a former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling. He has explosive knockout power, freakish athleticism and a 12-1 MMA record.
Round 1. Weidman starts out with a leg kick. Weidman is much more active early, throwing some shots to establish range. Romero is mostly just measuring Weidman. Weidman goes for a takedown and briefly gets it but Romero gets right back up and separates. Weidman attacks the body with some kicks and goes for a takedown, but it is blocked and Romero lands a hard punch on separation. Weidman goes for another takedown, but it is blocked again and Romero throws a few punches before breaking. Weidman goes for yet another takedown. He has Romero briefly down, but Romero is back up quickly. Romero looks for a kimura late but doesn’t come close. 10-9 Weidman.
Round 2. Weidman has another takedown attempt stuffed. Romero is negating Weidman’s offense, but he needs to do something himself. Romero throws a few straight punches and blocks another takedown attempt. Romero lands a hard body kick, but Weidman catches it and uses the leverage to set up a head kick of his own. Romero shoots for a takedown, but Weidman blocks it. Romero goes for it again and slams Weidman down. Weidman gets up quickly. Romero gets him down a second time, but Weidman pops up again. Romero gets a third takedown, and this time plants Weidman on his back. Romero lands some punches from the top as the round concludes. 10-9 Romero.
Round 3. Romero catches Weidman with a flying knee that knocks Weidman to the ground. He lands additional punches on the ground and that is it.
Winner: Romero, TKO, round 3.
Romero’s combination of power and athleticism is scary to deal with. He silenced the crowd in Weidman’s hometown and now has set himself up for a title shot. Joe Rogan announced in the Octagon that he will be getting the next shot against Bisping and that is going to be a dangerous challenge for the British champ. Bisping was shown on the screen, and he gave Romero the finger. Romero responded saying that he loves Bisping.
Miesha Tate announces retirement
Following a unanimous decision loss to Raquel Pennington, former UFC and Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate announced her retirement. A pioneer in women’s MMA, Tate has fought since 2007 and competed against many of the best fighters in the sport. She captured the Strikeforce title against Marloes Coenen in 2011 via fourth-round submission and then won the UFC title against Holly Holm earlier this year via fifth-round submission. The Holm fight was her crowning achievement as it was Holm’s first MMA loss and an exciting come-from-behind submission.
Tate will be best remembered for her rivalry with Ronda Rousey. Rousey and Tate entered into a war of words in Strikeforce, with Rousey lobbying for a title shot and Tate feeling she didn’t deserve it. Rousey submitted Tate in the first round to capture the title. Rousey and Tate rematched a little under two years later after coaching against each other on “The Ultimate Fighter.” This time, Tate became the first opponent to make it out of the first round against Rousey but she still fell via submission in the third round. If Tate doesn’t rethink her post fight announcement, she will retire at age 30 with an official record of 18-7.
Slideshow: Photos from UFC 205
Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington live round-by-round coverage
Miesha Tate is one of the most popular women’s fighters of all time, a former UFC and Strikeforce champion well-known for her rivalry with Ronda Rousey. She dropped the UFC title in her last fight to Amanda Nunes and seeks to rebound here. Pennington has three wins in a row in the UFC and is looking for the biggest win of her career.
Round 1. Tate throws a few punches to the body early. Pennington lands a few punches to the head, and Tate just covers up. They clinch and exchange punches from that position before Tate ducks down and goes for a takedown. Pennington grabs a guillotine choke, and Tate uniquely defends by walking up the cage multiple times to lessen the leverage. Tate then secures the takedown with two minutes left in the round. Pennington works her way back to her feet. They end up entangled by the cage late with Tate looking to take Pennington’s back. 10-9 Tate.
Round 2. They exchange punches early in the second with both landing solid blows. They clinch by the cage, and Tate again looks for a takedown. Pennington defends effectively. Pennington then looks for a takedown of her own on Tate. Tate defends that and lands some knees to the body on Pennington. For the most part, however, this round has been a clinch stalemate. Both rounds have been pretty even. 10-9 Tate.
Round 3. Tate pulls guard on Pennington and looks to set up an armbar by the cage. Pennington drops down some punches and elbows and avoids the submission attempt. Tate looks for a triangle choke next but has to give that up too. Pennington ends up in north-south position. Tate gets up, but Pennington looks for a front choke. She can’t get it, and Tate looks for a heel hook on the ground. That doesn’t work either, and Pennington ends up on her feet above a grounded Tate. Tate gets up and clinches, looking for another takedown. Instead, Pennington gets it and lands some punches as the round concludes. 10-9 Pennington, 29-28 Tate. This is going to be tough for Tate, though, since the third round appeared to belong to Pennington and the first two were tossups.
Winner: Raquel Pennington, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
This was an important win for Pennington against one of the stars of the division. It wasn’t the sort of thrilling victory that will be well remembered, but it’s a name that brings credibility to her name.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens live round-by-round coverage
Frankie Edgar is one of the most successful lighter weight fighters in the history of the sport, a former lightweight champion who has beaten many of the best fighters at 155 pounds and 145 pounds. He is looking to work back into title contention after an interim title loss to Jose Aldo. Jeremy Stephens is a powerful striker with a wrestling background and is coming off a noteworthy win over former bantamweight champ Renan Barao. Edgar is from New Jersey and is a local favorite here at the Garden.
Round 1. Edgar shoots in for an early takedown but Stephens blocks it easily. Edgar lands a few solid punches on Stephens. He lands a couple more moments later. At the halfway point he looks for another takedown attempt and then transitions into a guillotine choke attempt. He switches back to a takedown try. Edgar briefly gets Stephens down but Stephens pops up immediately. Clearly Edgar’s round as he was getting the better of the striking and also mixing in the threat of a takedown. 10-9 Edgar.
Round 2. Edgar throws a few low kicks early while Stephens is looking for a power punch to land on the chin of Edgar. Edgar closes distance, lands a couple punches and goes for a takedown. He finally gets the emphatic takedown but Stephens again is able to work his way back up. Stephens stuffs a takedown and lands a huge head kick that drops Edgar. Stephens runs in with a knee but doesn’t land that. Edgar goes for a desperation takedown but eats some elbows and can’t get it. Edgar is still badly hurt and unsteady on his feet. Stephens is looking to line up the knockout shot but he isn’t throwing much and Edgar is recovering. Edgar gets the takedown with a minute left. Stephens looks to stand up but Edgar grabs a guillotine choke. Stephens momentarily looks in trouble but gets out of danger. Edgar then takes top position. Edgar grabs a mounted guillotine choke but can’t get it. He lands a few big elbows from mount and the round ends. That is a tough round to score. Edgar dominated much of the round but Stephens nearly finished the fight. 10-9 Stephens.
Round 3. Edgar shoots in for a takedown and gets it in the first minute. Stephens doesn’t offer nearly the same resistance after the epic struggle in round 2. Stephens looks for a kimura from the bottom and is able to crank it pretty well. Edgar finally lands some elbows to force Stephens to give it up. Stephens stands up but Edgar pulls him back down. Stephens then gets up for good with two minutes left in the round for him to work. Stephens is pursuing Edgar late but isn’t landing anything of note. Stephens lands a few solid shots late. That was a very good fight, particularly the thrilling second. 10-9 Edgar, 29-28 Edgar.
Winner: Frankie Edgar, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
That was the sort of fight where both men come out looking strong. Stephens gave Edgar all he could handle and nearly became the first fighter to finish the tough former champion. However, Edgar demonstrated his trademark hard and toughness, picking up another quality win over a determined and game opponent.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson
Khabib is one of the very elite lightweights in the world, a 23-0 ground virtuoso who deserves a shot at the lightweight title. Injuries have limited his activity, and he is looking for an impressive performance that would earn him the next shot over another very deserving contender in Tony Ferguson. Michael Johnson is an inconsistent fighter who is good enough to defeat the likes of Edson Barboza and Dustin Poirier but who also has plenty of losses over the course of his career. This is an opportunity to move into the title contender mix.
Round 1. Michael Johnson asserts himself early, throwing a lot of punches from different angles to deter Khabib from moving in on him. Johnson has a big reach advantage, and he is connecting solidly on the chin of Khabib regularly. He hurts Khabib with a hook and is moving really well. Khabib finally gets a clinch two minutes in, a very important step given how the standup was going. Khabib throws Johnson down and has side control. Khabib gets Johnson in the crucifix position and drops down a series of elbows. Khabib is really having his way with Johnson on the ground with repeated punches. Khabib works his way into full mount but then loses it. He does continue with hard punches. Johnson tries to get up late but eats some big punches and the round concludes. That was a fascinating round. Johnson looked tremendous on the feet, dominating Khabib and seeming like the much better fighter. Once Khabib got it to the ground, it was all one-way traffic in the other direction. 10-9 Khabib.
Round 2. Johnson isn’t throwing as much in the second, likely concerned about the takedown. However, he is throwing more than Khabib. Khabib answers with a few solid punches of his own and gets the clinch. Johnson is able to get out of there without being taken down. Khabib shoots for a takedown, but it is blocked. Khabib tries again, and this time Johnson grabs a guillotine choke. Khabib gets out and immediately passes into side control. He then takes crucifix position again. He lands some punches from there, but Johnson gets out. Khabib continues landing punches and smothering Johnson on the mat. Johnson has no answers on the ground, mostly just covering up as Khabib goes to town with offense. 10-8 Khabib.
Round 3. Khabib gets the takedown much quicker in the third round and he’s back to dominating Johnson. He throws a series of punches against the cage, appearing to look for a stoppage. Khabib gets full mount and then transitions back to side control. Khabib grabs a kimura, cranks it and gets the submission.
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov, submission, round 3.
Michael Johnson looked in control at the beginning of the fight, but things turned in a major way once Khabib got the first takedown. Khabib dominated another opponent with his exemplary ground game. It’ll be tough for him to get a title shot in front of Tony Ferguson, but he certainly made his claim tonight.
Rafael Natal vs. Tim Boetsch live round-by-round coverage
Natal, a successful fighter who doesn’t usually earn a lot of style points, trains out of New York. He has won four of five in the UFC and seven of ten overall. Boetsch first fought in the UFC in 2008. He is a rugged wrestler with some knockout power. However, he has lost three of his last four and six of his last nine.
Round 1. Boetsch hits Natal with a sturdy right hook in an early exchange. Natal lands a few low kicks from the outside. Boetsch is walking down Natal while Natal circles away and looks to counter. Natal lands a few nice straight punches while moving away. Boetsch drops Natal with a massive looping punch and lands a few more on the ground for good measure to bring about a stoppage.
Winner: Tim Boetsch, KO, round 1.
Natal’s fights typically aren’t very entertaining, but Boetsch certainly brought the excitement in this one. Boetsch has always had heavy hands. He wasn’t able to get in on Natal for much of the fight, but when he did, he made it count.
Belal Muhammad vs. Vicente Luque live round-by-round coverage
Muhammad took his UFC debut on short notice against the dangerous Alan Jouban and looked impressive even in a decision loss. Muhammad looked strong again in a TKO win his next fight, and UFC elected to feature the exciting young fighter on this important card. Luque has won three UFC fights in a row, all by finish.
Round 1. The fighters come out swinging. In a wild exchange, Luque knocks Muhammad down with a big left hook. He lands a few more powerful punches on the ground and Muhammad is unconscious.
Winner: Vicente Luque, KO, round 1.
That was a heck of showing by Luque. He showcased tremendous power against a fighter who had never been stopped before. Muhammad needed a lot of time to recover afterwards. Luque entered the UFC without a lot of acclaim, but he is developing into a dangerous opponent for anyone.
Jim Miller vs. Thiago Alves live round-by-round coverage
Miller and Alves are two highly respected veterans who have been fighting in the UFC for nearly 20 years between them. Miller is more of a grappler, Alves a bruising striker. This was to be Alves’ lightweight debut, although he failed to make weight for the contest.
Round 1. Miller looks pretty confident in his standup, landing a few nice combinations on Alves on the feet. Alves looks noticeably less muscular and powerful than at welterweight. Miller catches an Alves kick and takes him down two minutes into the round. Alves tries to stand up, and Miller takes the opportunity to try to take his back. Alves avoids that and stands back up. Miller lands a hard kick to the body. Alves lands a couple solid knees to the body of his own. He opens up with some kicks as the round concludes. 10-9 Miller.
Round 2. Both fighters come out aggressively in the second, although neither man is connecting much. Alves lands a pair of hard punches up the middle, and Miller ducks in for a takedown. Alves stuffs that. Moments later, Miller catches Alves coming in with a kick and slams Alves to the canvas. Miller works from half guard, looking to pass into side control. Alves attempts to stand up. Miller again attacks the neck but Alves gets back to his feet fine. Alves throws a spinning back fist on the feet that misses. 10-9 Miller.
Round 3. Alves lands a hard leg kick early. Miller slips and Alves opens up as he gets up with some big combinations. However, Miller again catches him off balance with a beautiful takedown. Alves is nicely able to return to his feet like he did in each of the first two rounds. Alves goes back to his kicks, but Miller once again exploits that by catching one and getting a takedown. Miller looks for a guillotine choke as Alves stands up, but can’t get it. Miller quickly works his way into regaining top position. Alves takes the top and lands some punches as the round concludes. 10-9 Miller, 30-27 Miller.
Winner: Jim Miller, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Jim Miller now has the most wins in UFC lightweight history. This was a typical Miller performance — gritty and workmanlike. He wasn’t spectacular, but he exploited mistakes and ground out a win. Alves did not look good at a lower weight and didn’t make the expected weight either. He might be better suited returning to welterweight.
Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian live round-by-round coverage
The UFC’s first card at Madison Square Garden kicks off with a women’s bantamweight bout pitting Liz Carmouche against Katyln Chookagian. Carmouche is a veteran contender and former Marine who fought in the first UFC women’s bout against Ronda Rousey. Chookagian is an undefeated local star who is fighting in the UFC for the second time.
Round 1. Carmouche starts out the fight with a two-punch combination. The fighters trade low kicks. Carmouche looks very comfortable with her footwork. Carmouche lands a superwoman punch and then scores a takedown up against the cage at the midpoint of the round. Chookagian lands some elbows from the bottom while Carmouche just concentrates on holding her down. Chookagian then works her way back up to her feet. Carmouche lifts Chookagian up and slams her back down with a minute left. Carmouche lands some elbows and the round comes to a close. Clear round for Carmouche. 10-9 Carmouche.
Round 2. Carmouche comes out swinging and the two women grapple for position. Neither is able to get a takedown. Chookagian throws a front kick as they break. Carmouche lands another big takedown two minutes into the second stanza and is in side-control position. Chookagian attempts to stand up but Carmouche controls her neck and keeps her on the ground. Chookagian locks up a body triangle from the bottom, controlling Carmouche’s posture. Carmouche is content to land some light punches from the top. Chookagian gets back up to her feet in the final minute. She lands a nice right hand and throws a few kicks late. 10-9 Carmouche.
Round 3. Chookagian rocks Carmouche with a big head kick. Carmouche goes down, and Chookagian looks to finish the fight with a rapid fire series of punches. She lands a stiff elbow as Carmouche attempts a takedown. Carmouche is able to clinch for long enough to gather her senses. Chookagian continues landing solid punches upon separation. Carmouche goes for a takedown and gets it halfway through. Chookagian is able to return to her feet. Carmouche lands some kicks on her feet but you can see the confidence in Chookagian after her standup has paid dividends in the third. Carmouche goes for another takedown in the final minute. Chookagian threatens a guillotine choke while defending to the end. 10-9 Chookagian, 29-28 Carmouche.
Winner: Liz Carmouche, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The crowd boos the decision to a degree because Chookagian had the best success in the third round, but it’s more strange that it was a split decision than anything. Carmouche seemed to win the first two rounds convincingly. This was a solid win for Carmouche, ending the undefeated record of a game opponent. However, it wasn’t the sort of scintillating performance that will generate a lot of excitement for her next bout.
McGregor and Alvarez are talking tough
Three UFC title fights, seven active or former champions and Conor McGregor’s bid for history all take place Saturday as the organization brings its best possible card to its New York debut.
“The fight to get here was ridiculous. It should’ve never happened, but it made it a bigger event — more special — and I wouldn’t change it,” UFC President Dana White said.
New York state law banned mixed martial arts fighting for several years dating from the sport’s early days, when fewer rules and regulations were in place. But after years of UFC lobbying, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April signed legislation legalizing the sport.
White said his goal was to create “the biggest, baddest fight card in history” for Madison Square Garden, a historic venue that staged the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight and has seen bouts featuring boxing legends Rocky Marciano and Mike Tyson.
UFC starts here with Ireland’s McGregor (20-3) expected to draw a massive throng of supporters as he attempts to become the first UFC fighter to simultaneously wear two championship belts. The featherweight champion will meet Philadelphia’s gritty lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez (28-4), in Saturday’s main event.
“I predict I rearrange his face,” McGregor said. “He’s too easily hit. It’s happened his whole career. I’m going to hit him, he’ll fall. One round [likely], but if he can drag it into the trenches, he’ll never be the same again.”
Taking on Conor McGregor does not faze Eddie Alvarez
UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez calls himself “the complete opposite” of the man he’ll fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, the popular Conor McGregor.
“For him, it’s a big show: what you can see,” Alvarez said. “The fights for me are always about what you cannot see, the intangibles. It’s about what’s inside — what really is inside.”
While McGregor has been on the fast track to stardom by complementing his feats in the octagon with colorful verbal boasts and assaults, Philadelphia’s Alvarez, 32, is nicknamed the “Underground King” for toiling for at least nine professional MMA organizations.
“It happened slowly for me; it didn’t happen overnight,” said Alvarez (28-4 with 15 knockouts). “But I had an idea and belief in my mind that if I wasn’t concerned with what I was getting, and only concerned with what I was giving, I would never grow bitter or angry.”
McGregor is in the zone heading into another marquee UFC fight
Conor McGregor drove through traffic to Madison Square Garden on Thursday in a Rolls Royce, arriving fashionably late in a white mink coat, red turtleneck and floral black and red pants.
“Gucci, head to toe,” McGregor told The Times following another eventful news conference to mark his organization’s New York debut with a UFC 205 main event he’s headlining Saturday.
Ireland’s McGregor (20-3) will attempt to become the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold two belts when he meets lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (28-4) of Philadelphia.
A victory probably would require McGregor to choose between his featherweight belt or the new one, a decision he feels in no rush to consider. “I’m enjoying every single moment, and I won’t let nobody take anything away from me,” he said. “I’m in the moment, enjoying every bit.”