Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson fought to a draw in their first matchup for the UFC welterweight championship at Madison Square Garden back in November, and the rematch looked to be headed toward the same decision.
However, a late flurry of punches from Woodley seemingly allowed him to retain the welterweight championship, as he took home a majority decision by winning the fight on a pair of judges’ scorecards. The third judge scored the bout a 47-47 draw.
Woodley outpointed Thompson, 70-66, in overall strikes and 54-53 in significant blows. Also, Woodley landed one of his two takedown attempts and had a knockdown in the fight’s final minute. In addition to landing a higher volume of punches, Woodley was more effective, connecting on 49 percent of his shots and 43 percent of his significant strikes.
Conversely, Thompson landed at a 41 percent rate and did not have either a knockdown or takedown of Woodley.
Thompson was the more active fighter in each of the first two rounds, working much of the opening 10 minutes from the center of The Octagon while Woodley had his back near or against the cage. However, everything changed in the third round.
Woodley landed a takedown, and from top position, he landed 30 of his 43 strike attempts, 15 of which were considered significant. The effective punching allowed him to hold ground control for nearly two minutes.
Although Thompson responded in the fourth round, Woodley was the aggressor over the final five minutes of the contest.
With under one minute left in the bout, Woodley pushed forward with two overhand rights, the second of which floored Thompson. Then, Woodley landed six straight rights before Thompson rolled to his knees and attempted to protect himself.
Woodley alternated right and left-handed punches, but Thompson stood back up. Despite falling to the canvas a second time, Thompson again rose up and the two finished the fight on their feet, which sent the bout to the judges’ scorecards.