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Edgar outduels Stephens, Khabib gets big win

Read on for UFC 205 prelim results...
EDGAR vs STEPHENS



New Jersey’s Frankie Edgar bounced back impressively from his July loss to Jose Aldo, making his Madison Square Garden debut a winning one at UFC 205 on Saturday, as he scored a unanimous decision victory over Jeremy Stephens in a meeting of featherweight contenders.

Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for the No. 2-ranked Edgar, now 20-5-1; the No. 7-ranked Stephens falls to 25-13.

Using his speed and movement to stay a step ahead of his opponent, Edgar fought well on the feet throughout the opening round, and that may have been enough for him to take it, even though he wasn’t able to keep Stephens on the ground after a pair of quick takedowns.

Using the threat of a takedown to keep Stephens from getting his shots off consistently, Edgar did get a roar from the crowd when he did put the Iowan on the mat briefly. Those roars turned to shocked “Oohs” when Stephens decked Edgar with a left kick to the head. Edgar immediately shot for a takedown to clear his head, but he rose on wobbly legs as Stephens pressed his advantage and Edgar’s eyebrow swelled. Stephens’ aggression almost did him in, as Edgar landed a takedown and almost sunk in a guillotine choke. Now the partisan crowd had something to cheer about as “The Answer” finished strong.

Edgar floored Stephens with a takedown early in the final frame, but Stephens tried to stay busy by taking his opponent’s arm. Eventually, the “Lil’ Heathen” rose, only to have Edgar drag him back down for another spell on the mat. Back on his feet, Stephens drilled Edgar with an overhand right, Edgar taking it well as he continued to stick and move and elude any serious danger.

More from UFC 205: Results | Milestone tracker | Who won bonuses at UFC 205? | McGregor adds 2nd title with Alvarez KO | Woodley-Thompson title tilt ruled majority draw | Jedrzejczyk survives brief scare to defend title | Romero drops Weidman, eyes champ Bisping | Former champ Tate ends career at UFC 205 | Edgar outduels Stephens, Khabib gets big win in prelims | Miller continues resurgence with FIGHT PASS victory | Carmouche makes history again in victory
Must watch: Dana White event recap
Backstage interviews: Conor McGregor | Eddie Alvarez Tyron Woodley | Karolina Kowalkiewicz | Frankie Edgar | Khabib Nurmagomedov | Tim Boetsch | Vicente Luque
Octagon interviews: Conor McGregor | Tyron Woodley & Stephen Thompson | Joanna Jedrzejczyk & Karolina Kowalkiewicz | Miesha Tate | Khabib Nurmagomedov | Jim Miller | Liz Carmouche
FIGHT PASS customers: Watch the first two fights of the night here
Order now: Get the historic UFC 205 replay here


NURMAGOMEDOV vs JOHNSON



Unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov had hoped to fight for the lightweight title on tonight’s UFC 205 card, and while he didn’t get that chance, he most certainly made a strong case for a championship fight with a dominant third-round submission of Michael Johnson that lifted his perfect pro record to 24-0.

Johnson set a fast pace to start the fight, tagging the No. 2-ranked Nurmagomedov with several hard lefts to the head. Nurmagomedov stayed in the pocket with his foe, paying a price to get within grappling range. But once he did, he was able to return the favor and get Johnson in trouble with a steady stream of ground strikes. In the final minute of the round, Nurmagomedov unleashed a furious barrage of punches, even pushing his foe into the fence as he tried to rise, capping off a big round.

As round two opened, Johnson’s strikes became more defensive in nature, as he tried to keep the Dagestan native off him, but Nurmagomedov kept pressing, failing on his first couple takedown attempts but eventually getting Johnson to the mat in the second minute. Back on the canvas, Nurmagomedov went on the attack again, drilling Johnson with shot after shot before the horn intervened.

Courageously answering the bell for round three, Johnson exchanged blows with Nurmagomedov before getting taken down, and referee John McCarthy was watching carefully as “The Eagle” landed more shots. Nurmagomedov even appeared to be concerned for his opponent, saying, “You gotta give up.” Eventually, he had to though, as Nurmagomedov sunk in a kimura that finished the bout at 2:31 of the final frame.

The No. 6-ranked Johnson falls to 18-11.

BOETSCH vs NATAL



Resurgent middleweight veteran Tim Boetsch picked up his second consecutive knockout victory in impressive fashion, halting Rafael Natal in the first round.

Maine’s Boetsch kept the pressure on from the start, with his right hand opening a cut over Natal’s eye, a precursor of things to come. Natal had occasional success with his strikes, but he wasn’t active enough to keep Boetsch at bay. Eventually, the two exchanged blows against the fence, and Boetsch’s right hand hit paydirt again, this time dropping the Brazilian to the mat. From there, more rights followed without response, prompting referee Dan Miragliotta to step in and stop the fight at 3:22 of the opening frame.

With the win, Boetsch moves to 20-10; Natal falls to 21-8-1.

LUQUE vs MUHAMMAD



Born in New Jersey, Brazilian welterweight prospect Vicente Luque made quite the impression in his New York debut on Saturday, knocking out fellow up and comer Belal Muhammad in the first round.

Muhammad (10-2) was busy in the early going, but Luque (11-5-1) was patiently waiting for the opening to pick his shot. Soon, he found it, with a flush left hook putting Muhammad on the deck. A follow-up barrage of punches ended the bout seconds later, with referee John McCarthy stepping in at the 1:19 mark.

Luque, who took the fight on less than three weeks’ notice, replacing Lyman Good, scored his fourth victory in a row, with each win ending via knockout or submission.

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