Sunday 13th November. BT Sport 1. 5:30AM
UFC 205 sees the pinnacle of MMA return to New York State for the first time in over 20 years as the iconic Madison Sq Gardens plays host to what could be one of the most memorable nights in the sport’s history. Fight fans, prepare yourselves for fireworks.
The build up for the event has been nothing short of mind-blowing, and with three title fights on offer, it has the makings of being one of the best UFC events ever. Bring it on!
Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Karolina Kowalkiewicz
The preliminary bouts actually start late on Saturday night (UK time), but it will be the early hours of Sunday before the main card gets underway. The first fight sees Meisha Tate looking to bounce back from losing her bantamweight title at UFC 200 as she takes Raquel Pennighton. If the former champ wins as expected, she’ll surely be back in the conversation for a future shot at the belt.
One women’s belt will be on the line, though, as Joanna Jedrzejczyk makes her fourth title defence against Karolina Kowalkiewicz. A clash of heads at the weigh in shows that there’s no love lost between the two Polish fighters. And while both are considered strikers, their contrasting styles means that the distance should decided things. If the champion can keep the distance to avoid clinches, she should retain the title.
The men’s welterweight will also be on the line with Tyron Woodley making his first title defence against southpaw kickboxer Stephen Stephen Thompson. Wonderboy may be the challenge, but he enters the octagon as odds-on favourite. Whatever happens, it should be an explosive warmup for the main event.
Can McGregor Make History?
The big event has been the one we’ve all been waiting for. After week of waiting,the early hours of Sunday could see the UFC gain its first ever two-weight champion as Conor McGregor bids to create history. The Notorious has predicted a first round knockout, but Eddie Alvarez will not be ready to simply roll over.
The lightweight champion only won the title back in July, and is far from being the headline draw that McGregor is. However, a record of 28-4 speaks volumes, and the tough grappler will be eager to shut out his opponent. If the American can take it to the fourth or fifth round, the momentum may swing in his favour. But those first 10 or 15 minutes are a long 10 or 15 minutes. If anyone is going to produce the explosive early KO, it will almost certainly be the Irishman.
McGregor showed a weakness in the first fight against Diaz, and Alvarez will probably be more likely to gain a submission rather than a knockout. Nonetheless, the 28-year-old challenger has been the biggest attraction in MMA over the past few years and it isn’t solely down to his skills with the mic. He is one of the most exciting men in the octagon too.
After all the talking, it’s hard to see this contest failing to deliver. All eyes are on McGregor, and he won’t just want to create history, he’ll want to do it in style. That’s exactly what we’re backing him to do.