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Saturday 3 December 2016

It's a cruise for Conor

McGregor destroys Alvarez to take his second UFC title

Conor McGregor celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez by second round TKO following the lightweight title bout at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, New York Pic: Sportsfile
Conor McGregor celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez by second round TKO following the lightweight title bout at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, New York Pic: Sportsfile

As promised, Conor McGregor secured his place in the annals of combat sports on Saturday night, when he conjured a performance befitting of the occasion and venue.

At UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, McGregor capped off the promotion's first event in New York City by disposing of Eddie Alvarez via second round knockout with an almost unnerving ease.

In doing so, he dethroned Alvarez as the lightweight champion, and became the first man in UFC history to reign concurrently over two divisions.

It was only 11 months ago when the Dubliner usurped Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds to take the featherweight title.

A McGregor victory was by no means a surprise but the manner in which he picked apart the grisly Alvarez was jaw-dropping.

Combining fluent, evasive movement with unerring accuracy and concussive power, McGregor - and that devastating left hand - simply overwhelmed the Philadelphian, who was defending his title for the first time.

The Crumlin man floored Alvarez three times in the opening frame, but never sought to prematurely finish him off.

McGregor was completely calculating and calmly stalked Alvarez, who was on the canvas twice from sharp counter lefts.

As the first round matured it looked as though the American would not survive to the second. McGregor dropped him again with a straight left hand, but the durable Alvarez survived.

Alvarez's attempts to take McGregor to mat were easily rebuffed and his flurries made a minimal impact.

The end came when McGregor uncorked a magnificent four-punch combination that sent Alvarez stumbling to the floor and, within seconds, referee John McCarthy mercifully stopped the fight.

McGregor then mounted the octagon- proudly sporting his pair of straps - as the undisputed king of two divisions, before thanking the thousands of Irish fans who had travelled again to support him.

Vacate

While UFC president Dana White had previously insisted that McGregor would now have to vacate his featherweight title, it would seem that the biggest star in MMA has different ideas.

In the post-fight press conference, McGregor announced that he and his girlfriend Dee Devlin are expecting their first child, while demanding that the UFC's new owners, WME-IMG, give him shares in a company they recently paid $4bn for.

Saturday's showcase is already being reported as the company's most profitable on all fronts.

How the UFC addresses the practicalities of having a dual champion will make for interesting viewing but for McGregor, their one true fighting figurehead, they must make it work.

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