Admittedly, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White was not happy with the main event bout of UFC 209 between welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, Saturday night.
And White expressed his displeasure in the post-fight press conference, saying that he was wrong in thinking after a tough first bout between the two fighters in November would lead to an entertaining rematch.
When Woodley got the chance to respond to the comments, he did so swiftly.
“I want to see Dana get in there and fight Wonderboy,” Woodley said. “Watch anybody that was in there. Watch Patrick Cote. Watch Robert Whittaker. Watch all those guys that they thought were going to bulldoze him and they disrespected his style. I did the opposite. I embraced his style. I brought in a world champion. You can’t disrespect that style.”
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.
“Getting hit should never be cool,” Woodley said. “The art should be hitting and not getting hit, but you have to get hit and still be able to walk forward. In the first round, he hit me with a couple punches back to back. I think he doubled up on the right hand.
“He hit me in the eye and I had to blink because I couldn’t really see well. Then, I got kicked in the head a couple times and I had to walk forward. That mentally breaks guys sometimes because guys that get hit, they back up and they’re passive. But when somebody gets hit and they step forward like The Terminator, it puts it like, ‘Damn, what kind of person is this?’”
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.
“The fifth round was very similar to the fourth round in the first fight, and he’s just not a quitter, man,” Woodley said. “He’s a championship-type kid. In the future, he might become the champion, who knows. He has the intangibles, but at the end of the day, I got done what I needed to get done.”
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