The famous Madison Square Garden was the home of an historic night of fights. A card topped by no less than 4 champions saw four (T)KOs, one submission and six decisions. The prelims had a great argument for being the greatest set of prelims in 2016, and the main card brought the action as well. Here’s who won the bonuses for the very best performances.
Performances of the Night: Yoel Romero and Conor McGregor
For a minute it looked like the talking point of Romero vs. Weidman would be Yoel’s decision to pour water all over himself between rounds, buying himself some extra time to rest. Then, midway through the third round, “Soldier of God” landed a hellacious knee to the side of Weidman’s skull, opening a faucet of blood and knocking the New Yorker down and out.
“Eddie’s a solid competitor. Eddie’s a warrior. But he shouldn’t have been in here with me.” - Conor McGregor. It’s hard to argue with the man. Exactly one fight ago, Eddie Alvarez dethroned lightweight champion and pound for pound contender Rafael Dos Anjos, by blitzing him on the feet. Conor McGregor made Alvarez look like an amateur. Every time Alvarez landed a shot, McGregor fired back with two, twice as hard. Alvarez was dropped three times in the first round. Three.
The finish was something special. McGregor slipped a wayward Alvarez punch and followed up with a blistering four punch combination. Every shot landed perfectly on Alvarez. The first sent him stumbling, and by the fourth, McGregor was landing with pinpoint precision on a falling Alvarez. The underground king is dead. Long live the king. Conor McGregor is the first person to hold two UFC titles simultaneously, and he leaves with a $50,000 bonus check, along with the millions he made for headlining the biggest event in UFC history.
Fight of the Night: Stephen Thompson vs. Tyron Woodley
“Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.” Those were the words of Joe Rogan at the end of one of the craziest fourth rounds I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Tyron Woodley dropped Wonderboy with two of the hardest shots anyone has ever landed on Thompson. Then he hit him with another 20 blows. Then he grabbed a guillotine so tight, I thought Wonderboy’s head might pop clean off. Somehow, impossibly, Thompson survived, and even ended the round on top. Oh, and the rest of the fight wasn’t bad either.