Welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, came into UFC 205's co-main event tonight (Sat., Nov. 12, 2016) opposite top-ranked contender, Stephen Thompson, an underdog, which didn't surprise "Chosen One" in the slightest because he has been adamant that he gets no respect from the mixed martial arts (MMA) community.
That might change after tonight, battling the No. 1 contender in the division -- who he damn-near finished in the fourth round -- in a very entertaining back-and-forth fight that, unfortunately, ended in a majority draw (47-47x2 and 48-46).
Woodley and Thompson take to the center of the cage, their physiques so opposite they don't look like they should be in the same division. Thompson already showing off his unorthodox style -- hands down, feet sideways, switching stances -- as Woodley tries to figure out what he's looking at. In fact, it took more than a full minute before the first strike was thrown, a high-kick from Thompson that Woodley blocked. Thompson threw out a lazy low kick and Woodley timed it perfectly, ankle-picking "Wonderboy" and chasing him to the mat. Woodley immediately demonstrated top control and, from half-guard, he tenderized Thompson's flanks. Thompson, overall, did a decent job of defending, until the final seconds of the round where Woodley opened up a nice cut on the bridge of his nose with an elbow and then wailed on his mid-section until the buzzer blared.
Thompson started the second stanza much like the first, stalking Woodley and looking to land something special from outside range. He got a little too close, though, and Woodley soon had him pinned up against the fence. Thompson, after a brief struggle, was able to eventually spin out of danger and returned to the center of the cage. Thompson back Woodley up against the cage and finally scored with a trademark spinning back kick that Woodley shook off. Thompson began to find his groove as Woodley struggled to keep his back off the fence. Woodley tried to return fire, but Thompson was nowhere to be found. Woodley landed a nice right hook at the end of the round, but it's clear Thompson's stand up really confused him in the second round.
Woodley came out more aggressive to start the third round, perhaps attempting to throw Thompson off balance. But, mid-way through the round, he reverted to allowing Thompson to hunt him down, which is exactly what he did, stinging Woodley with precision shots and well-placed counters. Woodley landed a crushing low kick that nearly took Thompson off his feet and then nearly missed with a loaded-up left. With 10 seconds to go in the round, Woodley connected with a solid overhand right that seemingly had no effect on Thompson as he headed back to his corner.
In the fourth round, Woodley finally found a home for his trademark haymaker, flooring Thompson with a huge shot. Woodley followed up with additional shots -- and it appeared that the end was near -- but Thompson somehow survived. He even got back to his feet and Woodley dropped him again, but he would not be denied. Woodley got tired of bashing him mercilessly with elbows on the ground so he opted for a standing guillotine choke. Thompson defended, so Woodley dropped to the ground and locked it in even tighter, but Thompson was able somehow escape again. In fact, he was able to eventually squirm his head out and land shots on Woodley as the round ended.
Thompson appeared to be the fresher fighter, somehow, to start the fifth and final round -- Woodley expended a ton of energy going for that finish. But, Thompson didn't seemingly take full advantage. In fact, the final round was probably a critical to piece to a decision victory. Woodley rushed in with a few shots, but none of them connected. Thompson more than likely took it just based on activity and precision strikes. In fact, it was more than likely the difference between a win and a disappointing draw.
Either way, the fight was deserving a future rematch. It just stinks that there was no definitive result.