Tyron Woodley still hasn’t had all three judges score a fight in his favor against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, but he’s defended his title successfully twice against the challenger in five-round fights nonetheless.
This time, Woodley earned a majority decision victory, a noted improvement over the draw that the last bout resulted in. However, the fight was still extremely close, with two judges scoring the bout 48-47 for Woodley and a third scoring the fight as a 47-47 draw after five rounds.
Woodley won the clearest rounds of the fight. In the second round, Woodley was able to take down his slippery opponent and even trap his arm behind his back once on the mat. From there, Woodley unleashed some damaging ground-and-pound. Then, with the fight in the balance in round five, Woodley came up big with a straight right that backed Thompson up against the cage and an overhand right that knocked the challenger down.
Thompson had his moments, including a few clean punches and a flashy fourth-round wheel kick, but he also had many moments of inactivity. The two men regularly circled one another without either man wanting to initiate the offense, which led to a number of boos from the fans in attendance throughout the fight.
In the heavyweight division, Alistair Overeem was successful in his bout against fellow former K-1 alum Hunt. Hunt looked good at multiple times in the opening two rounds, unloading a barrage of strikes on Overeem against the fence in the first stanza and then landing a pair of vicious standing elbows in the next round.
However, Overeem showed the kind of durability that he hasn’t always had in his UFC career as he persevered through the rough moments and landing plenty of shots of his own heading into the third. In a scrum against the fence in round three, Overeem was able to land an utterly devastating knee in the clinch that spelled doom for Hunt. The follow-up strikes were academic and Overeem has now won five of his last six fights.
Meanwhile, Rashad Evans was not successful in his middleweight debut, as he was unable to mount much offense against four-time Olympic judoka Daniel Kelly en route to a split decision loss. Kelly was the aggressor through much of the fight, landing a number of straight lefts and uppercuts along with the occasional sweep. At the same time, Rashad too often failed to throw combinations, looking for single shots instead with mixed results.
In the third, Evans attempted to turn up the heat a bit, but it was too little, too late. He’ll now have to try to get in the win column in his next bout, while Kelly advances his own record to 13-1.