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AS IT HAPPENED

As it happened: Conor McGregor makes history at UFC 205 in New York

We went live through the night to watch The Notorious beat Eddie Alvarez and become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight champion.

A view of Madison Square Garden ahead of the event Tom Hogan / INPHO Tom Hogan / INPHO / INPHO

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s live coverage of what promises to be a historic night of UFC, no matter what the results inside the Octagon.

All eyes are on arguably the most iconic fight venue in all of sports, Madison Square Garden, as the UFC makes its debut in New York City.

And the card at 205 is absolutely stacked, topped by Ireland’s very own Conor McGregor who bids for his own piece of history in just a few hours’ time.

Beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title and the Notorious will become the first man to simultaneously hold UFC belts in two weight classes.

Ringwalk for the main event is expected at around 5am Irish time but before that, we have 10 more cracking bouts to keep us occupied. The Fight Pass prelims begin in just a few minutes with Liz Caramouche and Katlyn Chookagian.

Get comfortable — the night is only getting started.

Here’s tonight’s card in full:

UFC 205

Main card (BT Sport 2 — 3am)

Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero
Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington

TV prelims (BT Sport 2 and UFC Fight Pass — 1am)

Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson
Rafael Natal vs. Tim Boetsch
Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad

Early prelims (UFC Fight Pass — 12am)

Jim Miller vs. Thiago Alves
Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian

There it is from the horse’s mouth:
https://www.facebook.com/john.kavanagh.94695/posts/652962081551190

It’s just about time for our first fight and, in typical UFC fashion, they’ve got their music spot on to get us in the mood. It’s Jay-Z and Cam’ron with Welcome To New York City.

Samtheman1961 / YouTube

Katlyn Chookagian has just become the answer to the future pub quiz question “Who was the first fighter to step into the Octagon at a UFC event in New York?”

She sprints down as Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind (Part II) rings out around MSG. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m greatly enjoying the music choices so far tonight.

What better time to remind you that our man Paul Dollery is Octagon-side in New York City tonight. Give him a follow on Twitter there: @PaulDollery.

Liz Carmouche def. Katlyn Chookagian by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

That was a interesting one to kick things off and it’s Liz Carmouche who takes the split decision win. Carmouche had a much stronger start with some good takedowns and won both of the opening rounds on our card, but Chookagian had her in trouble early in that last round. Carmouche had enough to survive to the bell though and she takes the win.

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Jim Miller def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Jim Miller scores the 17th UFC win of his career, beating Thiago Alves by unanimous decision.

This was scheduled to be Alves’ lightweight debut but after he failed to make weight, Miller actually put on an extra couple of pounds so that there would be no more than five pounds between them and allow the fight to go ahead at a catchweight.

Miller was never in any real trouble, scoring a takedown on his way to winning the first round and then doing enough to edge a close second.

Alves did briefly gain top position towards the end of that third round but it was too little, too late to make any real difference.

For those of you waiting to tune in on BT Sport 2, it’s time. The prelims are just kicking off and it’s the welterweight scrap between Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad up first.

Vicente Luque def. Belal Muhammad by KO (R1, 1:19)

Oh wow – we have our first finish of the night and that was clinical. Vicente Luque catches Muhammad with a beautiful left on the counter and it was lights out inside the second minute of the first round. That’s bound to be a contender for Performance of the Night anyway.

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UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Julio Cortez Julio Cortez

Tim Boetsch def. Rafael Natal by TKO (R1, 3:22)

Someone needs to tell these lads to slow down with the first-round stoppages, otherwise we’re going to be watching ads for most of the night.

Take nothing away from Tim Boetsch though because this was seriously impressive. He caught Natal with a right in the very first exchange and drew blood. The finish came via a big, big right which caught Natal flush – no coming back from that one, and Boetsch is on his way to a place in the middleweight top 10 for sure.

It’s about to get very interesting…

The official broadcast is filling a bit of a airtime by looking back at the fight history of MSG. Khabib and McGregor looked like they fancied writing an unofficial chapter when they clashed at the weigh-ins yesterday.

Surely that fight is next up if both men win tonight?

TheMacLife productions / YouTube

Ok, this is where UFC 205 gets a bit special. We’re still in the thick of the prelims and we’re getting a belting lightweight contest.

#6 Michael Johnson is on his way to the Octagon where he will face the man who would be king, the undefeated #2 Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib’s hat game is on point.

Big John is the man in the middle and we’re just about ready to go!

kha

ROUND 1:

Johnson is determined to give Khabib plenty to think about and is doing all the work in the opening exchanges. He catches Khabib and the #2 is looking a little bit uncomfortable with the stand up game before he shoots for the breakdown and gets Johnson to the mat.

Good positioning by Khabib in side control and no matter how hard Johnson wriggles, he’s not getting away. Khabib’s shots are getting through and with a minute still to go in the round, Big John is taking a long hard look at this one.

Can Johnson get through to the bell? Johnson tries to keep a hold of Khabib’s left hand to stop the punches. Ten seconds… and he makes it. My word. How did Johnson survive that?!

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ROUND 2:

Johnson needs to keep this on his feet to have any chance. Khabib shoots twice for the takedown and Johnson tries to the second attempt into a guillotine. Good effort but Khabib is back on top, in control, and landing his shots – there’s still half the round left and it’s impossible to see Johnson surviving to the bell again if it stays like this.

Khabib has landed a massive 69 strikes on the ground — and there’s still 60 seconds left in this round. Big John is nearly in the clinch with them and tells Johnson he needs to see intelligent defence.

Fifteen seconds now and Johnson is nearly back up, but no. And he makes it.

They could be two 10-8 rounds but Johnson, to his credit, is still standing.

Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Michael Johnson by submission (R3, 2:31)

That was brutal.

It’s back on the mat before too long but, just as he did in the first and second, Johnson proves to be remarkably resilient in the face of that unrelenting Khabib onslaught. But there’s no answer when Khabib locks in the kimura and Johnson wisely chooses to tap before his arm is snapped.

Did someone say title shot?

Khabib is on the mic and he has a message for the Irish fans in MSG.

“I wanna fight your chicken.”

Pretty sure that’s you he’s talking about, Conor. The Olé Olés and boos quickly drown out the rest of what the Russian had to say but his message has been heard loud and clear.

Little bit of fight news just confirmed: Donald Cowboy Cerrone, who was supposed to fight Kelvin Gastelum tonight, has been confirmed for a UFC 206 fight against Matt Brown. Gastelum was pulled from tonight’s card after he failed to make weight.

Last fight of the prelims is on the way and it’s Frankie Edgar against Jeremy “Who The F**k Is That Guy” Stephens.

ROUND 1:

Edgar shoots for the takedown early on but Stephens is alert and manages to stuff it. Edgar goes again, and again, Stephens is able to brush it aside. It’s a scrappy enough round and it’s broken up again when Stephens catches Edgar with a stray finger to the eye, and the medics need to step in for a quick check despite Edgar’s protestations that he’s fine.

It’s a little bit flat but Edgar probably did just enough to edge it.

ROUND 2:

Edgar finally gets his takedown and immediately tries to take the back, but Stephens get back to his feet quickly.

“Move forward, move forward,” his corner implore, but he’s not making any meaningful contact with the punches he is throwing.

WOAH, I spoke too soon. Stephens absolutely rattles Edgar, who has never been knocked out before, and Edgar is struggling big time. More than two minutes left in the round and you sense the finish is there for Stephens.

Edgar works behind his jab to try and keep Stephens at bay, and then nails a beautiful takedown. Edgar has the guillotine locked in — or does he? No. Stephen somehow manages to wriggle free as the crowd go mad for Jersey boy Edgar.

Edgar locks in the guillotine again with seconds left in that round… and again, Stephens survives. What a round.

ROUND 3:

Edgar catches Stephens’ kick and forces him to ground but Stephens very nearly gets the kimura locked in. This could go either way as Edgar takes the back and tries to lock in his hooks.

“FRANKIE FRANKIE” rings out around MSG again but Stephens is back on his feet and this is still anyone’s with two minutes left in the third round.

Stephens probably needs this last round more but he’s not getting close enough to damage and it is all over.

Both men raise their arms but I reckon that’ll go down as Edgar 29-28. Tight.

Frankie Edgar def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

It’s a unanimous win for Frankie Edgar on the cards, and if we see a better fight than that tonight, we’ll have done well.

Now — onto the main card. Oh yes.

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“Tonight is a night that should be celebrated, it should be cherished, it should be enjoyed because it’s going to be magical,” says Mike Goldberg.

“The greatest card ever assembled in combat sports history,” says Joe Rogan.

They’re not under-selling this one anyway.

You probably don’t need reminding but here’s tonight’s main card:

  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor
  • Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson
  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero
  • Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington

Katy Perry blares over the Garden PA and you know what that means – here comes Miesha Tate!

ROUND 1:

Pennington starts strongest and she’s getting through with her jab frequently enough to cause Tate some problems. Pennington locks in a front choke and the only way for Tate to get out of it is to scale the side of the cage.

Tate gets free and lands a takedown and the round fizzles out. Might be one for Pennington.

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Julio Cortez Julio Cortez

ROUND 2:

That’s another round for Pennington. Tate struggling to get to grips here and it looks like she’ll go into this final round 20-18 down.

Raquel Pennington def. Miesha Tate by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

That’s a shock to kick off the main card but a totally deserved win for Raquel Pennington who was dominant throughout.

Wow. Miesha Tate has just announced her retirement after that defeat. “It’s not my time any more.”

The former champion bows out.

NOW – this is about to get LOUD. Not for Yoel Romero, who is on his way to the Octagon, but when local hero Chris Weidman enters in a few moments, expect the MSG crowd to make themselves heard.

And here comes Weidman – he walks to a combination of ‘Coming Home’, ‘Empire State of Mind’, and ‘I Won’t Back Down.’

And yes, it’s loud.

ROUND 1:

Good, positive start from Weidman who takes the fight to Romero early on. He shoots for a couple of takedowns and eventually lands one of them, taking Romero’s back, but the Cuban is very difficult to keep a hold of.

Romero does try for a kimura in the final clinch but the bell goes. Not a huge amount between them there – Weidman by a hair, maybe?

ROUND 2:

Weidman doing well to get out of the way of Romero’s most meaningful strikes. He catches Romero in the eye with his hand but referee Mario Yamasaki doesn’t seem to believe that Romero is hurt. Those left kicks to the body are making some serious noise and must be taking their toll on Weidman.

Romero tries to take Weidman’s back up against the fence and despite his best efforts, Weidman can’t wriggle free. Romero wrestles him to the mat and as the clock ticks down, tries to get into the dominant position on top. Time is against him but he’s probably done enough to win that one and level the fight at 19-19.

Yoel Romero def. Chris Weidman by TKO (R3, 0:24)

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Oh wow. Weidman drops his head, Romero connects with a sickening knee — no other word for it — and the fight is over. Romero lands another couple of totally unnecessary shots on the ground and it’s stopped, not a moment too soon.

Weidman is bleeding from the side of the head and he’s in all sorts of trouble here. Hopefully he’s ok.

Romero scales the side of the Octagon and salutes the New York crowd before marching around like a soldier.

Alright then, it’s title time — and first up it is Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz… or as I’ll be calling it from this point on, JJ vs. KK.

Forgive me, it’s nearly 4.30am.

Here comes Joanna Champion. JJ – I don’t ask for much but if you could get a first-round finish here, that’d be great, please and thanks. There’s only so much more coffee I can drink.

JJ fixes Karolina with a piercing stare as she’s announced by Bruce Buffer. I’m terrified, and I’m thousands of miles away.

ROUND 1:

Joanna doing much better to find her range as Karolina switches stances in a bid to keep the champion guessing. Joanna’s kicks finding their mark too. Karolina catches her with an elbow as the two push away from the fence but Joanna smiles and beckons her as if to say “gimme some more.”

JJ has landed three times as many strikes so far as the evening’s first rendition of The Fields of Athenry rings out. That’s her round alright.

ROUND 2:

They’re tied up in a clinch on the fence. “Joanna is talking to her there – that’s creepy,” says Joe Rogan.

Joanna’s nose is giving her a little bit of trouble and, as she tries a head kick, Karolina catches her leg. Joanna gets herself out of trouble and that’s going to be another round for the champ.

ROUND 3:

Maybe I’m getting tired — there’s no maybe about it, I am getting tired — but this isn’t exactly a thriller. Joanna is just quicker, sharper and better than Karolina and she’s racking up round after round.

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Julio Cortez Julio Cortez

ROUND 4:

This fight has just exploded into life and, for the first time since god knows when, Joanna is in big trouble. Karolina catches her with a monster right over the top and all of a sudden, Joanna is backpedalling. JJ gets her to the ground but they’re quickly back on their feet.

That’s gotta be Karolina’s – but she’ll still need a stoppage.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

That’s it – and the queen stay the queen. Very accomplished performance by Joanna in what must be her toughest fight yet but Kowalkiewicz loses absolutely nothing in defeat – what a warrior.

To those of you who are waking up expecting to see a McGregor-Alvarez 5am ringwalk – good morning! You’ve missed quite a bit of fun but it’s not all over yet. You’re just in time for the second of our three title fights — Tyron Woodley vs Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson for the welterweight strap.

Make yourself comfortable, sure.

Things have gotten so bad that I’ve resorted to quoting my own tweets…

ROUND 1:

Very, very cagey opening here as both men circle the Octagon without throwing any really meaningful punches. Wonderboy throws a half-hearted kick and Woodley catches it and is able to take him to ground. Woodley is in control now and he’s making some of these bodyshots count.

Sixty seconds left in the round and Wonderboy can’t do a huge amount about it. He gets up at the bell and his face is a bloodied mess. That’s a clear round for the champ.

ROUND 2:

Woodley tries to take the fight to Woodley at the start of the second but all it does is leave him exposed to the counter. Wonderboy connects with a spinning back kick. Woodley shakes his head but I’m not buying it. Much better now from Wonderboy and he’s finding his range and getting through. Second round to the challenger on my card, and all square through two.

ROUND 3:

Again, an aggressive start from Woodley as he tries to establish control in the middle of the Octagon. The two trade a few blows but nothing to get your teeth into. Woodley has never been as comfortable as when the fight was on the mat, and as long as this remains a stand-up, the more you’ll fancy Wonderboy. Woodley is doing well on the counter — and then he smashes Wonderboy with a massive kick that rings out around the Garden.

Nothing to choose between them again. Maybe the champ shaded it?

ROUND 4:

Talk about championship rounds! What an absolutely insane five minutes — and all I can think is HOW did Wonderboy get through that?

The challenge was caught badly by Woodley and it looked like he was out on his feet. Somehow he did enough to repel the onslaught but then, once Woodley locked in a deep guillotine, the fight looked to be all over again.

Where Wonderboy found the strength to resist, we might never know but he managed to finish that round in top position, raining down shots on the champ. Now it’s Woodley who looks like he might be tiring more having emptied himself to find the finish and failing to get it.

Incredible stuff. How do you score this?

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Julio Cortez Julio Cortez

ROUND 5:

That last round has got to be Wonderboy’s — stand up is much better — but what does it mean? Did he do enough to edge that tight third round? And did anyone give Woodley a 10-8 in the fourth?

I can’t call this. I’ll be wrong.

Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson majority draw (47-47, 47-47, 48-47)

Wow. That couldn’t be closer – and there’s mass confusion in the Octagon as Bruce Buffer starts to read out the scores, then stops, and goes out to clarify something with the commission.

When he returns, he announces the scores and calls it a split decision win for Woodley.

He’s still the champ – but Buffer has got it wrong. It is, in fact, a majority draw. Woodley retains his belt but Buffer has to come back on the mic to clarify the draw.

Bizarre scenes in the Octagon after an absolute classic. And we still have the main event to follow.

It’s coming up on 6.15am in Ireland and finally — HERE. WE. GO.

McGregor walks first but he’s changing up the music. Foggy Dew is still there but there’s no Hypnotize. I can’t quite place the new tune, 50 Cent maybe?

McGregor struts and the crowd — his crowd — goes wild.

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Alvarez is down and ready to go. This was worth waiting for.

ROUND 1:

Big John gives his final instructions, Alvarez reaches out to touch gloves and McGregor responds in kind.

It’s on. Alvarez lands a good inside leg kick early on as they feel each other out.

ALVAREZ DOWN – McGregor tags him in scenes reminiscent of the Aldo finish – but the champ has just enough about him to get back to his feet. How hurt is he?

DOWN AGAIN!

AND A THIRD TIME – McGregor connects with the left and this time follows Alvarez to the mat, trying to get the ground and pound going. He’s totally in control here.

ROUND 1:

Alvarez shoots for the takedown but McGregor brushes him aside. The champion tries to get back into it with some leg kicks but they’re tentative at best. The clock’s running down on this first round and it’s bound to be a 10-8 for McGregor. Sensational start and, barring the first-round finish he promised, he couldn’t have asked for better.

Round 2:

“Pressure pressure pressure” is the message from John Kavanagh as McGregor gets up off his stool for the second round. Thirty seconds in and McGregor’s left gets through again, but this time Alvarez stays on his feet.

McGregor taunts the champion now, standing with his hands crossed behind his back, goading him. Alvarez gets through with a right but McGregor responds in kind and clips Alvarez with another shot that must have hurt the champ.

Olé Olé rings out around the Garden again as Alvarez looks get his wrestling going and pins McGregor up against the side of the cage.

IT IS ALL OVER.

HISTORY.

CONOR MCGREGOR IS A TWO-WEIGHT UFC CHAMPION.

That is simply sensational by McGregor. He tees off on Alvarez with a lightning flurry midway through that second round and the champion has no response, crumpling.

McGregor celebrates – he has just made history.

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Julio Cortez Julio Cortez

That winning feeling!

jk1

Speaking to Joe Rogan afterwards, McGregor is furious that the UFC brass didn’t have the second belt on hand for him immediately.

“Where’s my second belt? Cheap motherfuckers,” he roars.

He gets it eventually.

That’s all for the liveblog but don’t worry, we’ll have plenty more reaction to what has been a truly historic night for the UFC and for Conor McGregor.

Thanks for reading.

McGregor’s precision and power can plant seeds of history in the Garden

Where are the best places to watch McGregor v Alvarez at UFC 205 in Ireland?

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