SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/17: Woodley vs. Thompson set for NYC, Punk’s drawing power, Kongo bests Johnson, MacDonald on fighting Sonnen

By Jonathan Cervantes, MMATorch contributor

Stephen Thompson (photo credit Stephen R. Sylvanie © USA Today Sports)


UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley will make his inaugural defense against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205. Woodley confirmed this match is on during the pre-show for the UFC Fight Night weigh-ins.
Stephen Thompson enters the bout boasting a seven fight win streak and three consecutive stoppages against Rory MacDonald, former champion Johny Hendricks, and Jake Ellenberger.

Tyron Woodley captured the belt from Robbie Lawler back at UFC 201 via first round knockout and began to campaign for big name title fights against the likes of George St. Pierre and Nick Diaz, but finally came to terms with the UFC to accept this bout with Thompson.

UFC 205 will take place at the historic Madison Square Garden in what will be the UFC’s first visit to New York City, N.Y.

Cervantes Analysis: With Nick Diaz and GSP not having set return dates, this was the right fight to make for the division. The departure of Rory MacDonald and potential retirement of Carlos Condit has also left the top of the division significantly less competitive than before, making Thompson the most logical choice. That said, Thompson is a force to be reckoned with and this should make for a highly entertaining fight and a tough test for Woodley.


-In a story by Dave Meltzer this morning at, he is estimating that UFC 203 drew between 125,000-225,000 more buys than would have otherwise been anticipated, likely due to C.M. Punk, “meaning he generated added revenue of somewhere between $3.75 million and $6.75 million for the company. So for all the criticism of the $500,000 base pay Punk earned for his debut, along with a possible percentage of pay-per-view that was Punk’s deal ended up being a financial bargain.” This likely increases the chances that UFC refrains from cutting Punk and books him for one or even two more fights (he has a three-fight contract) to capitalize on his drawing power. Although it’ll be considerably lower, his drawing power on PPV need only be 17,000 extra buys to pay for his $500,000 fight fee.

-Cheick Kongo defeated Tony Johnson at Bellator 161 in a fight that was widely panned by fans.

-Rory MacDonald is open to fighting Chael Sonnen in Bellator at middleweight upon his return. Tito Ortiz has also said he’d like to end his career with a win against Chael.

-According to MMA Fighting, Luke Rockhold has restructured his contract for higher compensation for his fight with Jacare Souza, but will continue to campaign for higher earnings after he has fought.

-C.B. Dolloway is still in Ohio recovering from the back injury he sustained in an elevator accident before UFC 203, according to BloodyElbow.

-Cain Velasquez said on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” this week that it would be “BS” if Jon Jones returned for an immediate title shot against AKA team mate and Champion Daniel Cormier. Watch the video interview with Velasequez.

CATCH UP ON MORE NEWS WITH YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/16: Sonnen signs with Bellator, JDS talks Miocic, Aldo campaigns for Pettis Fight, more (w/Cervantes Analysis)

(Jonathan Cervantes has been an avid fan of MMA since 2009 when he saw GSP vs. B.J. Penn 2. He has practiced tae kwon do, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling in the past and is currently a student majoring in entrepreneurship at the University of San Francisco.)

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