UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor "CHAMPION vs CHAMPION" is an upcoming mixed martial arts event promoted by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will be held on November 12, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
This event will be the first UFC event hosted in New York City. It will also be the first UFC event hosted in the State of New York after the longtime professional MMA ban was revoked in early 2016. To this point, UFC 7 was the only event contested in the state, taking place in September 1995 at Buffalo.
The UFC worked tirelessly to surpass the law that forbade professional mixed martial arts events in the state, including a drastic measure: they announced an event (UFC 197) for the Madison Square Garden, despite the ban still being in effect. However, it was announced that a preliminary injunction allowing the promotion to hold the event was denied by a federal judge. The event was eventually moved and contested in the promotion's home base of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Main card: three title bouts, including a champion vs. champion contest
The event is expected to be headlined by a UFC Lightweight Championship bout between current champion Eddie Alvarez and current UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. This will be the second time in UFC history that champions in different divisions will fight for the same title. The first time was at UFC 94 on January 31, 2009, when then-welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre defended his title against then-lightweight Champion B.J. Penn.
Alvarez was originally expected to make his first title defense against undefeated contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, but it was announced on September 21 that Alvarez missed the contract deadline for the bout and in consequence it was expected to take place at UFC 206 in December. Meanwhile, McGregor was previously expected to challenge for the lightweight title at UFC 196 in February against then champion Rafael dos Anjos. Dos Anjos eventually pulled out due to a broken foot and the bout never materialized.
A UFC Welterweight Championship bout between current champion Tyron Woodley and five-time kickboxing world champion Stephen Thompson is expected to take place at co-main event.
A third title fight, a UFC Women's Strawweight Championship bout between the current champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz is also expected to be part of the card. The duo met previously in their amateur days in 2012, when Jędrzejczyk defeated Kowalkiewicz via submission in the Amatorska Liga MMA Tournament final.
Madison Square Garden will host the much anticipated New York City debut of the UFC.
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and 2000 Olympic silver medalist and former world champion in freestyle wrestling Yoel Romero have been slated for this portion event.
A welterweight bout between former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and former lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone was the first confirmed bout of the event. However, just a few days after the announcement, it was revealed the Lawler decided to take a little more time to get ready for the fight after losing his title via knockout at UFC 201. He was replaced by The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen middleweight winner Kelvin Gastelum, who was scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal one week earlier than the event.
Opening the main card will be a women's bantamweight bout between former Strikeforce and UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate and Raquel Pennington.
Preliminary card: former champions and title challengers stack the under-card
A featherweight contest between former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens is also scheduled to take place at the event.
Despite being originally expected to face Alvarez, Khabib Nurmagomedov will face Michael Johnson instead in a potential lightweight title eliminator.
A pair middleweight bouts between Tim Kennedy and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and divisional newcomer Rashad Evans, as well as Tim Boetsch against Rafael Natal are slated for this portion of the event.
A lightweight bout between Al Iaquinta and former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves was previously linked to UFC 202. However, the pairing was initially delayed and was expected to be contested at this event. Subsequently, Iaquinta announced on September 19 that he pulled out due to a contract dispute with the promotion. He was replaced by Jim Miller.
To complete the card, there will be a welterweight bout between former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good and Belal Muhammad, and a women's bantamweight bout between former title challenger Liz Carmouche and Katlyn Chookagian.
A light heavyweight bout between Gian Villante vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima was briefly linked to the event. However, Villante pulled out of the fight on September 21 citing injury and the bout was scrapped.
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