New York City. The Irish are coming. We are less than a week away from the biggest mixed martial arts event in history. For the first time ever a UFC pay per view will be broadcast from the world’s most famous arena; Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City.
The main card is headed by three title fights, with Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez’s historic lightweight title-fight the night’s main attraction. There are six fights on the main card and seven on the undercard. That’s a total of 13 fights?! For the sanity of MMA fans around the world, we here at Oxygen.ie have decided not to bore you with a preview of every single fight on the card. Instead enjoy our preview of the three title fights that are set to headline UFC 205.
Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor- Lightweight Title:
Only once before have two champions in different divisions fought for the same title. That was in 2009 when then-welterweight champion Georges St Pierre defended his title against then-lightweight champion BJ Penn. On Saturday night, Conor McGregor will look to do what Penn could not. Become a two weight world champion. McGregor has been his usual brash and cocky self in the build-up, but there’s no denying that this will be a tough fight for the Notorious One. Alvarez is certainly a better wrestler than McGregor and the way in which he finished Dos Anjos in his last fight was downright scary. If however, the Philly native decides he wants to stand up with McGregor then this one could be over quick. Alvarez has had multiple knockout victories in his career, but when he comes to sheer power in the stand up, McGregor undoubtedly has the upper hand. Both men will also have excellent conditioning heading into the fight but McGregor will certainly want to finish this one early. If Alvarez comes out all guns blazing and McGregor catching him with that deadly left hand….Well just ask Jose Aldo how that plan turns out. But both men are smart fighters, they will have a strong gameplan . Alvarez will likely look to take this to the ground where McGregor is certainly more comfortable on his feet. In my opinion if McGregor can avoid Alvarez’s takedowns early (Alvarez has a 100% takedown accuracy in his UFC career so that’s easier said than done) then his punching power will be too much for the current lightweight champion.
Prediction- McGregor by TKO inside a round
Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson- Welterweight Title:
Here’s a fight I am really looking forward to. Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley makes his first title defence against, undoubtedly one of the most gifted fighters in the division, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Woodley surprised many in July when he beat then-champion Robbie Lawler inside a round, a fight that Wonderboy repeatedly argued he shouldn’t have got. Whether that is the case or not, Woodley dominated Lawler and deservedly took the title home. The Chosen One is one of the most well rounded fighters in the game but in Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson he is coming up against a fighter in the form of his life. Wonderboy has won his last seven fights in a row beating fighters like Rory McDonald and Jonny Hendricks in the process. For me, this will be one of the closest fights on the card. Both men have a nasty stand up game but one could argue that is it goes to the ground Woodley has the advantage (Thompson has only won one of his pro fights by submission). As I said, this one will be close but for me Woodley’s time is up. Wonderboy’s time is now.
Prediction- Thompson by TKO in Round 3
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz- Women’s Strawweight Title:
It will be an all Polish affair on Saturday night, when undefeated strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk faces off against the number two ranked and also undefeated challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. There’s no doubt that Joanna is the favourite going into this one. The only strawweight champion the UFC has ever seen, Joanna is one of the most technical fighters in the world and her footwork and muay thai style long guard may give Karolina issues if it’s something she’s not prepared for. Karolina however is a relentless fighter both on the ground and standing up, so she certainly has the ability and punching power to win this fight. Both women are also coming off the back of two huge career victories, Joanna over number 1 ranked Claudia Gadelha in July and Karolina over Rose Namajunas at UFC 201. Where I feel Joanna may have the upper hand is the conditioning. Karolina, although notching up a number of decision victories, has never had to go five rounds before, whereas Joanna has done so in her last two fights. Like the welterweight title fight, this will probably be another close contest but I feel Joanna has the experience and the technical ability to retain her strawweight title.
Prediction- Joanna Jedrzejck by decision