History awaits as UFC holds first show in New York City this November, UFC 205: ALVAREZ vs McGREGOR
On November 12 2016, history will be made when the UFC makes its monumental debut in New York City for UFC 205: ALVAREZ vs McGREGOR. What better venue for the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization to hold its inaugural event than in Madison Square Garden. Home to some of sport’s greatest moments, no other venue comes close to fitting the bill to host the first-ever UFC live event in the City, and in anticipation for the epic night of fights ahead, let’s take a look back at The Garden’s rich history in the world of sports.
A Fine Performance
In June 1994, basketball hall of famer Patrick Ewing put on one of the best individual performances ever to be seen in Madison Square Garden. Playing against the rival Indiana Pacers in a pivotal Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Ewing sealed his team’s victory with a resounding slam dunk in the final seconds of the game. He finished with 24 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks to lead the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals.
When the UFC arrives in New York City, brash Irish superstar Conor “The Notorious” McGregor will be in the front seat, looking to put on the single best performance of his career yet when he challenges UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Since debuting in 2013, McGregor has been on an incredible meteoric rise that saw him become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion in 2015. Showing no signs of slowing down, McGregor now has his eyes set on the UFC lightweight championship and is seeking to become the first man in UFC history to hold two title belts simultaneously.
Heard Around the World
From John Stark’s defining dunk over Michael Jordan in the 1996 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Larry Johnson’s unbelievable four-point winning play three years later, Stephane Matteau’s shot at double OT to send the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994 or Brad Richards’ game-tying goal in the NHL semi-finals between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals eight years later, Madison Square Garden has seen its fair share of impactful shots that made waves in the sports world.
When UFC welterweight champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley takes on challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, fight fans should be ready for some fireworks. With both fighters possessinghigh levelstriking skills, viewers have been told to keep their eyes open and do not blink because this co-main event fight is not expected to go the distance. With Woodley being the more powerful striker and Thompson being more technically sound, both have proven on occasion to have the ability to end any fight with just one shot that will definitely be heard around the world.
There Can Only Be One
Madison Square Garden hosted the very first meeting between boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. In what was dubbed as the “Fight of the Century,” both titans fought for the right to be called World Heavyweight Champion. With their undefeated records on the line, only one would walk away with the coveted title while the other would be sent home packing with the first professional loss of his career. In a brawl for the ages, it was Frazier who came out the victor over Ali at the end of 15 rounds via unanimous decision.
The Garden will also play host to a similar match-up when UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her belt against fellow compatriot Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Recognizing the opportunity lying in every corner, both Jedrzejczyk and Kowalkiewicz have placed a lot on the line for their upcoming battle including their undefeated records. It is also the perfect opportunity for both to cement their legacy as Poland’s best female fighter and as the undisputed champion of the world.
Perhaps the most memorable moment in the 1970 NBA Finals was when New York Knicks captain Willis Reed made a surprising return to the starting lineup after missing the previous game with a thigh injury. Taking on the Los Angeles Lakers, Reed stepped up when his team needed him to the most – sinking the first two shots of the game and providing an undeniable spark to lead the Knicks to their first NBA championship.
On November 12, New York native and former UFC middleweight champion Chris “The All-American” Weidman will also be making his return to the Octagon®. After nearly a year-long absence following an injury, Weidman will get to do it in front of his friends and family in Madison Square Garden. A key figure in pushing the legalization of MMA in the state of New York, it is the perfect scene for Weidman’s return as he looks to earn a decisive victory, make another run towards reclaiming his belt and bringing back another championship to the Big Apple.
Bringing The Fight
An instant classic in the world of college basketball was a 2009 Big East Tournament Quarterfinals match between Syracuse and Connecticut. Madison Square Garden played host to what was the longest game in conference history, lasting an insane six overtime periods. Players from both teams gave their all through the full 70 minutes of never-before-seen basketball action that ended the next morning.
Always ready to bring the fight every time they step foot inside the Octagon® are fan favorites Kelvin Gastelum and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone who are set to face each other in UFC’s New York City debut. When Gastelum’s relentless fighting spirit clashes with the Cerrone’s “live life to the fullest” attitude, fans can expect a fun fight that can literally go either way with both competitor’s willingness to fight anyone at any time and risk it all for the fun of it.
UFC 205: ALVAREZ vs McGREGOR is the biggest card in UFC history, keeping with the tradition of the great bouts of Madison Square Garden. Headlined by an epic Champion vs Champion main event, along withtwo other title fights and filled up with exciting matchups featuring the UFC’s biggest stars today, the stacked card promises to be one for the history books.