Two 10-8 rounds in favor of UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley allowed "The Chosen One" to retain his title in his UFC 205 co-main event against Stephen Thompson, who came perilously close to striking championship gold Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, only to see a majority draw verdict rendered.
Scores were 47-47 twice and 48-47 Woodley. Woodley earned a 10-8 first round on the scorecard of Doug Crosby and a 10-8 fourth round on Derek Cleary's card.
After a tactical opening from both, Woodley (16-3-1) caught a Thompson kick two minutes in and put the challenger on the deck. Woodley went to work with his ground strikes as he tried to improve position, and while Thompson kept him from doing so, it was at the cost of blows that bloodied his face.
The first two minutes of round two were spent in the clinch against the fence, a grueling exercise for both men. After breaking, Thompson (13-1-1) continued to play the role of aggressor as he pressured the champion, momentarily jarring him with a kick in the fourth minute and rebounding nicely from the previous round.
The action heated up in round three thanks to several heated exchanges. And while Woodley looked impressive in the first minute and last minute, the middle three were in Thompson’s favor, making it a tough frame to score.
A Woodley right hand dropped Thompson 90 seconds into round four, and while “Wonderboy” recovered from that one, another right sent him sprawling to the canvas moments later. Woodley went all-out in search of a finish, both by strikes and a guillotine choke, but Thompson hung tough, eventually escaping as the crowd erupted. And as the round ended, it was Thompson firing off strikes.
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
Perhaps gassed out by his fourth round effort, Woodley was outworked by Thompson in the fifth round, and while the South Carolina native didn’t do anything spectacular in the final frame, he was steady throughout.