Tyron Woodley retained his UFC welterweight title after a bit of confusion following an extremely close matchup at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Bruce Buffer announced the scores as 47-47, 47-47 and 48-47 Woodley, and called it a split decision. It later was clarified that the bout against Stephen Thompson was majority draw. Still, Woodley remained the champion.
"I was like, hell no, I am not giving my belt away," Woodley said.
In the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said there will be a rematch to settle the score.
“It was better than what it was in the beginning,” Thompson said of the draw. “It’s not a win obviously, so it’s definitely disappointing, so hopefully we can do it again, man.”
Woodley opened the fight staying to the outside, looking to stay away from Thompson’s unique striking, while Thompson held the center of the cage. After two minutes, Woodley was able to catch a kick and take Thompson to the ground. Thompson was able to defend most of Woodley’s strikes, but near the end of the round, he took an elbow that cut him open.
"Wonderboy" tried to keep some distance in the second, but Woodley took advantage when Thompson tried to rush, turning him into the cage and holding him there for more than a minute. After the break, Thompson used his calculated striking to land a spinning kick that pushed Woodley into the cage as the champion shook his head to hide any pain. Thompson continued to land through the final minute of the round, disrupting Woodley’s rhythm and not allowing him to close.
Woodley took the center of the cage to open the third, but Thompson quickly retook control and continued to land. A left hand hurt Woodley midway through the round as Thompson kept pushing him back. Woodley landed a pair of big punches to end the round, but Thompson shook them off.
The fourth started much the same way, but Woodley was able to turn it on. He landed a few clean shots that had Thompson stunned. A straight right hand put Thompson to the canvas, but he got back up. Then another right put him down and Woodley swarmed. He had as deep a guillotine as you can see on Thompson’s neck, but "Wonderboy" would not tap. Somehow, he escape and finished the round on top of a tired Woodley while raining down strikes.
After the men hugged to open the round, Thompson started opening up again, throwing more spinning and head kicks. As the round began to wind down, Woodley looked for an explosive knockout punch but couldn’t land as Thompson continued to score.