McGre­gor KOs Alvarez for sec­ond UFC ti­tle

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Conor McGre­gor raised his arms in tri­umph be­fore he stepped in­side the cage, the cocky Ir­ish­man play­ing to a crowd go­ing wild for UFC’s great­est cham­pion.

McGre­gor ran a cir­cle around the mat, a vic­tory lap of sorts be­fore he even threw a punch. McGre­gor packed fans to the Madi­son Square Gar­den rafters and drove them into a frenzy as he packed a vi­cious punch against Ed­die Alvarez. McGre­gor used a brash and bril­liant per­for­mance to knock out the over­whelmed Alvarez in the sec­ond round to win the UFC light­weight ti­tle Satur­day in the main event of UFC 205 on a record night.

He dubbed him­self this week the King of New York. Now, he’s been crowned a two-class champ. “What’s next for me,” McGre­gor bel­lowed in­side the cage. The easy an­swer: what­ever the “No­to­ri­ous” one wants.

McGre­gor dom­i­nated from the open­ing bell of the big­gest card in UFC his­tory - on pace to set an MMA pay-per-view record - and the sold­out crowd of 20,427 loaded with A-lis­ters from Madonna to Hugh Jack­man went wild with each pun­ish­ing blow. McGre­gor, also UFC’s feath­er­weight champ fol­low­ing a 13-sec­ond knock­out of Jose Aldo, had re­dicted a fourth-round KO. Un­like UFC’s la­bo­ri­ous le­gal fight to reach New York, McGre­gor wouldn’t make any­one wait. UFC has not de­cided if McGre­gor (21-3) will be al­lowed to de­fend both cham­pi­onships. UFC

Pres­i­dent Dana White said McGre­gor could be about the only fighter in the pro­mo­tion to han­dle that kind of gru­el­ing fight load.

“Who knows,” White said. “I’m go­ing to let him en­joy his night.” McGre­gor crouched in­side the cage wait­ing for the bell to ring and at­tack Alvarez (28-5). McGre­gor was the clear ag­gres­sor from the start, drop­ping Alvarez three times in the first round.

Alvarez, of Philadel­phia, bounced up the first two times and took a se­vere beat­ing on the third. McGre­gor forced Alvarez to fight with his back to the cage and never ab­sorbed a se­ri­ous strike. The 28-year-old McGre­gor put his hands be­hind his back in the sec­ond, taunt­ing and toy­ing Alvarez to hit him. McGre­gor, UFC’s big­gest box-of­fice star, un­loaded a left and ended the fight at 1:52 of the sec­ond. McGre­gor lay waste to a bat­tered Alvarez and brazenly de­manded his sec­ond UFC cham­pi­onship belt in a speech pep­pered with pro­fan­i­ties. “I was lit­er­ally los­ing my head in there,” he said.

McGre­gor snatched his new light­weight cham­pi­onship belt, paired it with his feath­er­weight ti­tle, and UFC’s first two-class cham­pion in the pro­mo­tion’s his­tory plopped him­self on top of the cage and ab­sorbed the scene of his his­toric night. “I’ve spent a lot of time slay­ing ev­ery­body in the com­pany,” McGre­gor said. Alvarez is the lat­est vic­tim on the list. “Ed­die is a war­rior, but he shouldn’t be in there with me,” he said. “I’m at a dif­fer­ent level.

Now, I cel­e­brate as cham­pion of two di­vi­sions.” UFC was live and le­gal in New York for the first time since an MMA ban was lifted ear­lier this year. To cel­e­brate, UFC stacked the card with three ti­tle fights that set a pro­mo­tion and MSG gate record with $17.7 mil­lion. The 1999 box­ing match be­tween Len­nox Lewis and Evan­der Holy­field drew a record $13.5 mil­lion.

“Je­sus is go­ing to have to fight the devil to break that record,” White said. Ty­ron Wood­ley de­feated Stephen Thompson via ma­jor­ity draw to re­tain his wel­ter­weight ti­tle in a fan­tas­tic fight and Joanna Je­drze­jczyk suc­cess­fully de­fended her UFC women’s strawweight cham­pi­onship with a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

But the stage be­longed to McGre­gor. McGre­gor, as he had been all week in New York, was the undis­puted star of the card. McGre­gor’s fans swathed them­selves in Ir­ish flag capes and his coun­try­men sang “Ole, Ole, Ole” in the con­course and stands through­out the show.

“It was ob­vi­ous the crowd was here to see Conor McGre­gor,” Wood­ley said. The crowd could not wait one more night to see him. The twodecade ban im­posed by New York left only un­sanc­tioned MMA fights in the state.

State law­mak­ers and Gov. An­drew Cuomo agreed in April to end the ban fol­low­ing years of failed ef­forts by sup­port­ers. The law au­tho­riz­ing the sport took ef­fect in Septem­ber, and UFC op­ti­misti­cally al­ready had MSG booked.

UFC last ran a ma­jor show in the state at UFC 7: The Brawl in Buf­falo on April 7, 1995. UFC, un­der Lorenzo and Frank Fer­titta, ex­ploded into a global phe­nom­e­non, be­come a sta­ple on net­work tele­vi­sion and ran PPV cards that hit 1 mil­lion buys dur­ing the ban. UFC 205 was ex­pected to reach around 1.5 mil­lion PPV buys. UFC sold for ap­prox­i­mately $4 bil­lion to a group led by Hol­ly­wood en­ter­tain­ment con­glom­er­ate WMEIMG in July.

McGre­gor told re­porters af­ter the fight he wanted an eq­uity stake in UFC. “Who­ever runs this place now has to come to me and give me my slice,” he said. “Bring me on board for real. I need to be set for life on this.”

Tick­ets at face value and on StubHub only seemed to be sell­ing for as much as UFC’s sell­ing price. The fans saw UFC fight­ers de­liver more kicks than the Ra­dio City Rock­ettes in the 11fight card. McGre­gor might need an ex­tra ticket for his next fight: The two-di­vi­sion champ is set to be­come a first-time fa­ther in May. “I feel like I’m just reach­ing my prime,” he said. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.