UFC 209 results: Woodley retains title over Thompson with majority decision
Plus, David Teymur scored a huge upset of Lando Vannata in Las Vegas on Saturday
It wasn’t quite a firefight, but Tyron Woodley didn’t care.
The welterweight champion risked his title for the second straight time against the long, lean karate master Stephen Thompson on Saturday night in Las Vegas, and retained his title for the second straight time -- this time winning a narrow majority decision atop the UFC 209 card at the T-Mobile Center.
The two men had engaged in a classic four months ago, at Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, where Woodley kept his belt via majority draw. This time, he stepped on the gas in the final 30 seconds to clinch a victory, earning two scores of 48-47 while a third judge against saw it even at 47.
CBS Sports dissented from the majority and saw Thompson as a 48-47 winner.
But a relieved Woodley wasn’t making any apologies.
“I was extremely nervous,” he said. “I knew it was close and I was praying to make sure the belt stayed home.”
He cemented the divine intervention late in the final round, when he drove Thompson to the floor with a right hand and followed up with a barrage that nearly prompted the referee to intervene.
Thompson ultimately rose and avoided further damage and was on his feet at the fight’s end, but Woodley said he assumed the flurry was what clinched the verdict.
“I went out there for the kill,” he said. “I knew he was going to stay on the outside, and it was smart for him to do. We’re the top two guys in the world and he kept me a little cautious.”
Caution was indeed the buzzword for the fight’s initial 24-plus minutes, which mainly featured Thompson stalking from an open karate stance while Woodley, looking like a boxer, circled around the perimeter of the octagon with hands high.
The first two rounds were nearly identical before Woodley finally succeeded on a takedown attempt early in the third, driving Thompson to his back and keeping him pinned awkwardly with his right hand behind him for nearly two full minutes -- though he was not able to deliver huge punishment.
Thompson escaped at the midway point of the round and resumed his stalking while landing well with punches to Woodley’s body. He continued to follow that script throughout the fourth, too, as a restless crowd began imploring the men to “fight, fight, fight.”
Woodley’s corner, after the fourth, also suggested their man “act like a champion” and pursue action, takedowns and no backward motion.
“It is what it is,” Thompson said. “I thought I had it. I thought I had the better strikes. I can’t leave it in the judges’ hands.”
Final statistics indicated Woodley landed more strikes than Thompson, 66-42, and had 18 more significant strikes. He had 1 minute, 50 seconds of ground control, too, compared to 15 seconds for Thompson, who lost for the first time since 2012 and is now 13-2-1.
Woodley, unbeaten since 2014, is 17-3-1.
“He’s the champ for a reason,” Thompson said. “I thought I had it, but I live to fight another day. This is why I do what I do, to fight the best.”
Swedish lightweight David Teymur endured an early barrage from Lando Vannata and gradually assumed control the rest of the way to a surprising unanimous decision triumph.
Teymur entered as a near 4-to-1 underdog.
He earned the verdict by three matching scores of 30-27.
“This is like a dream coming true,” Teymur said. “I hope I get some new fans from here in America. I love you guys.”
Vannata raced from the gate with a flurry of punches and kicks, but Teymur avoided significant damage and began landing counters and intermittently taking the initiative. He took Vannata to the floor a few times as well, which might have tipped the scales in each of the rounds.
Now 6-1, Teymur instantly called for lightweight champ Conor McGregor.
“I want the belt,” he said.
Vannata is now 9-2.
Former UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans was disappointed in his debut at middleweight,to Australian import Daniel Kelly.
The upset came by two scores of 29-28 -- two rounds to one -- for Kelly, while a third judge had the same score for Evans.
Kelly, now 13-1, landed 89 strikes across three rounds compared to 53 for Evans.
Evans had a long run among the stars of the octagon a decade ago, including consecutive high-profile defeats of Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin across 13 months in 2007 and 2008.
He defeated Chael Sonnen by first-round stoppage at UFC 167 in 2013, but has now lost three straight since and fallen to 24-6-1.
“It feels awesome,” Kelly said. “He’s a legend and an icon.”
Strawweight Cynthia Calvillo made her octagon debut a successful one with an impressive first-round stoppage of Amanda Cooper.
Calvillo had won three straight MMA bouts before arriving to the UFC and quickly dispatching Cooper after getting her to the ground, then cinching in a rear-naked choke and prompting a tap out.
The fight was initially scheduled forSaturday’spreliminary card, but was moved to the pay-per-view show after the bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fell through.
Cooper succeeded early when the fighters were standing up, but Calvillo got her to the ground after Cooper failed to land a left leg kick.
“I was ready,” Calvillo said. “I train with some of the best fighters in the world and I was looking forward to putting on a show tonight.”
Cooper is 3-3.
Third-ranked heavyweight Alistair Overeem bounced back from a title-fight loss with a
The KO came at1:44of the third after Overeem pressed Hunt -- ranked eighth in the world -- against the cage and landed a left elbow followed by a right knee, sending the Samoan sagging to the floor.
Overeem defeated Hunt by submission in one round when they met in July 2008.
Overeem met UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic on Sept. 10 in Cleveland in his last fight prior to the Hunt rematch and was stopped in the first. Saturday’s win boosted him to 42-15 as a pro.
Hunt fell to 12-12-1. He said afterward on social media that he’d suffered a broken tibia.
“I knew Mark Hunt was a tough guy,” Overeem said, “but we’re not done yet.”
UFC 209 Results
|Tyron Woodley||Stephen Thompson||Majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47)|
|David Teymur||Lando Vannata||Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)|
|Daniel Kelly||Rashad Evans||Split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)|
|Cynthia Calvillo||Amanda Cooper||First-round submission (Rear-naked choke)|
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