The Fight of the Night at UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor inside Madison Square Garden was the co-main event of the evening, as Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson fought to a majority draw. It’s only the 2nd time in UFC history that a champion has defended his belt via draw, with Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 being the first back in 2011.
Woodley had Thompson in massive trouble in the 4th round, dropping Wonderboy multiple times with his vaunted right hand, and bludgeoning him with vicious strikes on the ground and on the feet. Thompson was seemingly out on his feet and had to heroically fend off multiple tight guillotine chokes to even see a round 5, which he won comfortably.
The pure domination by Woodley seemed to be the textbook definition of a 10-8 round, but as the scorecards here reveal, only judge Derek Cleary awarded Woodley a 10-8 4th.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) November 13, 2016
There’s a lot to digest here. The scorecards are all over the place. Doug Crosby, of “Edgar beat Penn 50-45 at UFC 112” fame, scored a 10-9 round 4, but did score the opening round a 10-8 in Tyron’s favor. In the first frame, Woodley was able to score his only takedown of the fight and control Wonderboy, before strongly finishing the round with ground-and-pound, including an elbow that bloodied up the challenger. That he had round 1 as a more dominant round than round 4 is definitely a puzzler.
Glen Trowbridge didn’t award a 10-8 in either rounds 1 or 4, but scored round 3 for Woodley, while Crosby and Cleary had it for Thompson. So while Cleary and Crosby both had 47-47 scorecards, they reached those final totals differently.
Of course, the glaring screw-up from this fight is Bruce Buffer’s erroneous announcement of Woodley as a split decision winner. This came after it’d already taken a considerable amount of time just for the scorecard to be handed in. There was confusion in the cage, and while Woodley was being interviewed, there was an interruption by Buffer to announce that it was indeed a majority draw. New York State Athletic Commission clearly wrote down “split Woodley” on the sheet, so that’s their error, and it’s frankly an embarrassing one to make. Imagine the chaos had the 48-47 scorecard been Thompson’s.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to introduce MMA fans to a classic video from more than a decade ago, when Teddy Atlas ripped into a Michigan athletic commission official who didn’t know the difference between a split decision and a majority decision, as Courtney Burton won an outrageously incorrect decision over Emmanuel Augustus on a Friday Night Fights card.