Alex Chambers’ UFC 209 Review: Woodley Retains Welterweight Belt At Jaw-Dropping UFC In Las Vegas

It has to be the rule of thumb somewhere that at any time UFC returns to its home in Las Vegas Nevada, MMA fans are always left feeling some type of way.

UFC 209 was a card that left many of us emotional for several reasons and here's why:

Before any fighter even stepped into the Octagon, headlines flooded news feeds about 209, the highly anticipated co-main event featuring top lightweight contenders Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov and Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson was removed from the card.

As a match-up that was three years in the making (originally scheduled in 2015, then 2016 and now 2017), crowning an interim lightweight champion between these two fighters was the clear answer in a heavily riddled division.

Fast forward to hours before the televised weigh-ins where the acceptance of the heart breaking news began to sink in and many were left to wonder how the card could still shine without this dream co-main event.

Thanks to the new co-main event featuring lightweight prospects Lando Vannata and David Teymur (pictured above) we were given a brilliant 15 minutes of mixed martial arts that left us in applause and on our feet.

It was a no-brainer that these two earned fight of the night performance bonus with their dynamic back and forth striking spectacle.

If you didn't know who they were I'm certain you do now.

David Teymur of Sweden upsets the flashy Jackson Wink's fighter Lando Vannata in a unanimous decision that left everyone glad they weren't a judge that night. 

In a common theme for the evening, underdogs definitely didn't disappoint.

Enter Aussie middleweight Daniel Kelly (pictured above) to ruin veteran Rashad Evans' middleweight debut and return to the Octagon.

In a juxtaposition of two seasoned fighters we learned one lesson that appearances can be deceiving and the take-away, never count Dan Kelly out.

In a three round split decision war, Kelly takes his fourth straight win in an unbelievable show of unorthodox offence and terminator like defence (I don't think he is human).

Congrats again Dan Kelly

In a card who's highlighted event revolved around unfinished business the main card kicked off with another pair of fighters looking for closure.

Deadly heavyweights Alistair "The Reem" Overeem faced Mark "The Super Samoan" Hunt in a rematch of their 2008 showdown.

In another entertaining fight, these two heavy hitters were walking time bombs waiting to detonate during their back and forth exchange.

Hunt seemed unwavered by Overeem's unforgiving kicks (and even gave his back) and entered the third round poised and determined to land his signature shot.

However, the Dutchman stayed true to his routes and picked Hunt apart in the clinch before exploding a devastating knee on the New Zealand (Sydney based) icon finishing the fight via KO in the third round. 

The jaw-dropping outcomes as witnessed was an expectation most had for the main event of the evening.

As I had anticipated both Woodley and Thompson didn't change their game. However the crowd at Vegas was not amused.

Considering the dynamic arsenal both fighters laid out for 25 minutes in their initial meeting, the minimal offence at UFC 209 became difficult for many to swallow.

The crowd vocalised their discontent of what appeared to be a riskless stalemate but it was obvious their caution acknowledged the difference between a win and a loss occurs in a fraction of a second.

With Woodley down on the scorecards as the fifth round wound down, the fight took a grave turn in a fraction of a second for Wonderboy when "The Chosen One" unleashed a brutal barrage of strikes to close out the 25th minute.

It was enough to revive the crowd at T-Mobile Arena and it was enough for the judges to grant him the majority decision win. Congrats Tyron Woodley #AndStill. 

Honourable mentions go to Iuri Alcantara and Darren Elkins on their performance of the night bonus' winning comeback victories. 

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