It started slow, but the first mixed martial arts bout at Madison Square Garden eventually gave fans some of what they’ve been waiting for years to see.
Liz Carmouche won in the opening bout of UFC 205, winning a split decision over New Jersey’s Katlyn Chookagian (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
“It feels amazing to pick up the first ever UFC victory in New York City," Carmouche said. "I didn’t anticipate the takedowns coming as easily. I really wanted to stand and bang with her but the takedowns came natural and I decided to exploit that."
In the first round, Carmouche was able to control the pace, completing a pair of takedowns that amounted to the only major action.
Chookagian opened up the second round by maintaining distance, but after a flurry of strikes, she was out of position and caught for another big slam. Carmouche attempted a submission from the top but was unable to maintain position and lost the grip. Chookagian eventually got the fight to the feet and applied some pressure as the clock expired, but too late to steal the round.
In the third, Chookagian turned the tide, landing a big head kick that sent Carmouche scrambling on the defensive and trying to keep the fight in the clinch. Chookagian continued to apply pressure, but Carmouche was again able to bring it to the ground. Once back on the feet, Chookagian continued to be creative with her striking, but couldn’t get a finish.
"I was worried. I didn’t feel like the fight would be stopped but I knew it might sway the judges," Carmouche said. "I am very happy to be back and want to get back to work soon. I’ll take anybody in the division.”