LAS VEGAS — Tyron Woodley understood the booing that thoroughly drowned out his words when he spoke to the fans following his tactical victory over Stephen Thompson at UFC 209.

“I know this is a sport where you guys love to see knockouts,” Woodley said. “You guys love to see the gore. You love to see the blood, guys getting beat up, and then they find a way to come back. I love watching it as well.

“But guess what? I love being the world champion, and sometimes it’s not the sexiest fight on Earth.”

The 34-year-old UFC welterweight champ simply felt he couldn’t risk his belt or his livelihood in another emotional brawl with Thompson, the unpredictable karate fighter who nearly finished him four months ago in their wild first bout in New York.

Thompson exercised the same caution in their Vegas rematch, and Woodley eked out a cerebral, largely action-free victory that left both fighters thinking they had won.

It also left many fans wishing they hadn’t paid to watch a chess match in a cage. “I would say a stalemate is probably the proper term,” Woodley said.

Woodley (17-3-1) and Thompson (13-2-1) had the same solution to a common dilemma for high-profile mixed martial artists and boxers in big bouts: They can either fight intelligently, or they can entertain the fans who come to see blood.

By the time the T-Mobile Arena crowd chanted “Fight! Fight! Fight!” out of desperation in the fifth round, Woodley and Thompson had made their preferences clear – for this difficult matchup, at least.