McGre­gor KO wows Madi­son Square Gar­den

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Dan Gel­ston

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

NEW YORK >> 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 sold-out 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 pre­dicted 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.

JULIO CORTEZ — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Conor McGre­gor, right, fights Ed­die Al­varez dur­ing a light­weight ti­tle mixed mar­tial arts bout at UFC 205, early Sun­day at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York.

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