The first woman to fight in the UFC, Liz Carmouche, made history again on Saturday, becoming the first UFC athlete to fight and win in Madison Square Garden, as the No. 9-ranked bantamweight scored a hard-fought three-round split decision over New Jersey’s Katlyn Chookagian in UFC 205 action.
“She was a really tough opponent; I knew that coming in,” said San Diego’s Carmouche, who was in action for the first time since a win over Lauren Murphy in April of 2015.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for the 32-year-old Carmouche, now 10-5; Chookagian falls to 8-1.
Kenilworth’s Chookagian had some success early on, but once Carmouche was able to close the distance and get her foe to the mat she took control, with two takedowns and good clinch work keeping Chookagian on the defensive.
More from UFC 205: Results | Milestone tracker | Who won bonuses at UFC 205? | McGregor adds 2nd title with Alvarez KO | Woodley-Thompson title tilt ruled majority draw | Jedrzejczyk survives brief scare to defend title | Romero drops Weidman, eyes champ Bisping | Former champ Tate ends career at UFC 205 | Edgar outduels Stephens, Khabib gets big win in prelims | Miller continues resurgence with FIGHT PASS victory | Carmouche makes history again in victory
Must watch: Dana White event recap
Backstage interviews: Conor McGregor | Eddie Alvarez Tyron Woodley | Karolina Kowalkiewicz | Frankie Edgar | Khabib Nurmagomedov | Tim Boetsch | Vicente Luque
Octagon interviews: Conor McGregor | Tyron Woodley & Stephen Thompson | Joanna Jedrzejczyk & Karolina Kowalkiewicz | Miesha Tate | Khabib Nurmagomedov | Jim Miller | Liz Carmouche
FIGHT PASS customers: Watch the first two fights of the night here
Order now: Get the historic UFC 205 replay here
Carmouche kept the heat on in the second, with a thudding slam that ignited the crowd. But after a stalemate on the mat, Chookagian began to find her rhythm with her strikes in the final minute, and early in the third, a right kick to the head by Chookagian nearly ended the bout. With the complexion of the fight now changed, Chookagian went on the attack, but Carmouche was able to slow her momentum with a takedown. Midway through the final frame, Chookagian rose and again stalked the bloodied Carmouche, but the former world title challenger kept her at bay and finished strong.