Wood­ley edges Won­der­boy in dull fight

New Straits Times - - Sport - AP

Ty­ron Wood­ley re­tained his UFC wel­ter­weight ti­tle with a desul­tory ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion over Stephen “Won­der­boy” Thomp­son in their re­match at UFC 209 on Satur­day night.

Alis­tair Overeem also stopped Mark Hunt in the third round of an en­ter­tain­ing heavy­weight bout at T-Mo­bile Arena, and Rashad Evans de­buted at mid­dleweight with a split-de­ci­sion up­set loss to 39-year-old Aus­tralian ju­doka Daniel Kelly.

Un­til the fi­nal 30 sec­onds of their five-round bout, Wood­ley (17-3-1) and Thomp­son (13-2-1) failed to re­cap­ture the ex­cite­ment of their mem­o­rable ma­jor­ity draw last Novem­ber.

Wood­ley put on a cau­tious, tac­ti­cal fight un­til he caught Thomp­son with a right hand late, land­ing sev­eral big shots on the ground.

Thomp­son made it to the bell, but two judges scored the bout 48-47 for Wood­ley, with a third see­ing it 47-47.

“I thought I was go­ing to fin­ish him,” Wood­ley said. “But in the end, I got the vic­tory.”

Wood­ley and Thomp­son both fought with aban­don and got them­selves into dan­ger­ous po­si­tions in their first bout in New York but sur­vived for only the third draw in a ti­tle fight in UFC his­tory.

The re­match opened with two ac­tion-free rounds as both fight­ers sized up their op­po­nent amid boos from the Ve­gas crowd. Wood­ley landed a take­down in the third, and Thomp­son did dam­age with kicks in the fourth, but nei­ther con­tender pro­duced any­thing re­sem­bling the ur­gency ex­pected by the fans, who took to chant­ing “Fight! Fight! Fight!” in the fifth.

Ear­lier on the pay-per-view por­tion of the UFC 209 card, vet­eran Dutch kick­boxer Overeem (42-15) flat­tened Hunt to bounce back solidly from his knock­out loss to Stipe Mio­cic in his heavy­weight ti­tle shot last Septem­ber.

Af­ter two bloody rounds that looked largely even, Overeem stag­gered Hunt with a left el­bow in a clinch.

Overeem then landed two right knees, leav­ing Hunt (12-11-1) planted face-down on the can­vas.

AP PIC

Ty­ron Wood­ley (right) takes Stephen Thomp­son to the mat in a wel­ter­weight cham­pi­onship bout on Satur­day.

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