Stephen Thompson closed the year in the UFC, with a win over Geoff Neal, at last night’s Fight Night 183. In other matches at the same event, Jose Aldo and Michel Pereira also recorded victories, while Khaos Williams and Greg Hardy lost their respective contests.
Thompson (16-4-1 MMA, 11-4-1 UFC) was patient, choosing to wait for the rival, who helplessly made charges throughout the fight hoping that his enormous power would crush the Wonderboy. That was a big mistake made by Neal (13-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC). In the end, he suffered a unanimous decision loss, as Thompson’s counter-attacks made the difference on the scoreboard. All three judges scored 50-45 for the Wonderboy, who successfully returned to the ring after 13 months.
“‘Wonderboy’ is still here, baby,” Thompson said in an interview following the fight. “That title, 2021, is going to be mine.”
"Every time I hit him he felt just like a rock…I hit him with a full on roundhouse kick to the face, to the dome-piece and he just kept on coming."
— UFC News (@UFCNews) December 20, 2020
He was already after the welterweight title twice, but Tyron Woodley kept the belt on both occasions. The first match was a majority draw, and the second a majority decision in Woodley’s favor.
Since then, Thompson fought Jorge Masvidal and beat the American, but lost two in a row against Darren Till and Anthony Pettis after that. His most recent fight before tonight’s was against Vicente Luque at the UFC 144 in November last year.
Following the fight, Thompson expressed his desire to meet Jorge Masvidal once again. Regarding his match against Neal, Wonderboy used the opponent’s inexperience in these sorts of events. Neal wanted to chase down his rival, and use his raw power to knock out Thompson. As time went by, he became more and more nervous, and the 37-year old began using that, slowly increasing the advantage on the scorecards.
“Geoff is a tough, tough opponent, man,” Thompson said. “And rock solid. Every punch I hit him with, he just kept coming.”
In the event that preceded, Jose Aldo defeated Marlon Vera, via unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, snapping a three-match losing skid. After a long time, the former three-time featherweight champ was on the winning side, and that would come in handy in his intention to once again attack the title belt.
He was better than Vera, especially in the opening round, inflicting several massive hits to the body, which slowed down his opponent. The doubt about his cardio in the championship rounds still stands, but right now, it appears that he is more than ready for a three-round fight against anyone in the division.
Greg Hardy opened the match against Marcin Tybura viciously, indicating that he might win the bout. In the end, the former NFL player suffered his first TKO stoppage loss. At 4:31 of Round 2, the match was stopped, with the Polish fighter posting a big win, 21st in his career.
Khaos Williams suffered the first loss since joining the UFC. Even though many expected to see his knockout terror continuing against Michel Pereira, the Brazilian fighter found a way to stop the Oxfighter and to post his third win in the organization.
The Demolidor, as the fans call him, decreased the pace of the battle, scoring two takedowns, with one putting Williams in a very bad position, but being interrupted by the end of the round. Pereira was on his way to submit the American via guillotine choke, yet the horn saved Khaos.
This was the last UFC event this year, and the next one is on January 16, 2021. Max Holloway meets Calvin Kattar in the headliner of the UFC Fight Night 184.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.