Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs. Belal Muhammad
Weight Class: Welterweight (170 lbs)
Stephen Thompson will be looking to get back into the win column at UFC Vegas 45 following a loss to Gilbert Burns earlier this year. As for Belal Muhammad, he will be looking to crack the top five after a convincing win over Demian Maia.
Though he is coming off a loss, Wonderboy Thompson has not been slowing down as he ages. Gilbert Burns was a tough stylistic match-up as well, one that didn’t allow Thompson to use his best weapons. Against strikers, however, Thompson has remained dominant. He cruised to a five round decision over Geoff Neal and is just two fights removed from putting on a clinic against Vicente Luque.
Stylistically, we can still expect a measured, healthy diet of kicks and lightening fast movement. His takedown defense has historically held up unless he comes across imposing wrestlers. As for knockout power, Thompson is always game for a flashy headkick KO, but on an attrition basis, his opponents tend to survive.
As for Belal Muhammad, he is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist, but I don’t think his wrestling game will be enough to severely threaten Thompson. While Belal has good striking as well, Wonderboy Thompson has long been an elite kickboxer. Unless he’s aged dramatically, we should be able to expect that in this spot.
All of this makes Stephen Thompson by decision a worthwhile bet at +105. Belal should be durable enough to survive the onslaught, but Thompson should have a clear speed and striking advantage.
Prediction and play: Stephen Thompson by points (+105)
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