It was a game of inches at UFC 209 as both champion Tyron Woodley and challenger Stephen Thompson brought extremely tentative gameplans to their main event rematch. In the end, it was Tyron Woodley who had his hand raised with the judges scoring the fight 48-47 twice for Woodley with one 47-47 draw. That was enough to give Woodley the win via majority decision.
The first two rounds seemed to see Stephen Thompson edge Tyron Woodley with very little action between the two of them. With Woodley delivering very little output, many thought Thompson won the rounds by being just a bit busier. It was almost like Tyron was frozen, and Stephen was content to take the slow rounds without pushing the pace and creating a firefight. In the third Woodley woke up and followed his coaches’ demands for a takedown, taking Thompson down against the cage and pummeling him for half the round. But that was the last takedown we’d see.
Round 4 was similar to rounds 1 and 2, only with Thompson more confident in his kicks. At one point he caught Woodley flush upside the head with a high kick, but the champion was ultimately unaffected by the clean shot. In round 5, Woodley’s coaches insisted he go for the finish as they were sure he was behind on the scorecards. Woodley finally took to the center of the Octagon and slung leather, but Thompson stayed out of range … until the final minute where Tyron managed to uncork his monster overhand right and crack Thompson, dropping him to the canvas. From there it was a wild flurry of action as Woodley pounced on his fallen opponent, and Thompson struggled to get back to his feet. In the end, Tyron couldn’t force a stoppage and the fight ended with Thompson backpedaling away from more violence from Woodley.
It’s going to be a controversial decision as it’s hard to see how Woodley took three out of five rounds, but with the fifth round near-finish it’s difficult to argue that Woodley didn’t deserve to win the fight in spirit, if not exactly on a round by round scorecard.
For all the highlights and finishes from UFC 209, click here.