Tyron Woodley successfully defends belt against Stephen Thompson
In the co-main event of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley successfully defended his belt against challenger Stephen Thompson in a majority draw (47–47, 47–47, 48–47).
Despite being the more experienced fighter and the reigning champion, Woodley entered as the underdog according to the oddsmakers. Woodley, a decorated amateur wrestler who also competed in Strikeforce before joining the UFC, had a more complete arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
Woodley has developed into an incredibly powerful striker over his career, though some were concerned about having to cover distance against Thompson. The grappling game favored Woodley as well, since Thompson's primarily aa striker despite having worked on his ground game recently with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
While Woodley is likely still keen for a super fight with Diaz or St-Pierre for the potential financial windfall that would accompany it, his next challenger is grappling expert Demian Maia. Not only is Maia's jiu jitsu the best in the welterweight division, he is incredibly adept at avoiding strikes. In his last four fights, Maia has been on the receiving end of just 13 significant strikes.
After Woodley won the title at UFC 201, Thompson, who was working the Fox Sports broadcast, had asked the newly-crowned champion about potentially fighting on this card. Woodley initially denied the request, electing to call out fighters like Nick Diaz or Georges St-Pierre in an effort to get a money fight, but varying issues has kept both fighters out of competition. Ultimately, the UFC decided to reward Thompson, who entered Saturday on a seven-fight win streak, with the first title shot of his UFC career.