UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal betting odds and pick
A changing of the guard at the top of the welterweight ranks may be at hand, with Stephen Thompson set to face off against Geoff Neal in a scintillating UFC Fight Night main event.
The showdown between the two title hopefuls will take place Saturday, Dec. 19, so lets break down the bout and make a pick.
Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal
Sun, December 20 2020, 2:30 AM
Old man Thompson
“Wonderboy” was able to momentarily stop his career from hitting the skids when he beat Vicente Luque last year, but that came after a 1-3-1 run that had him left for dead.
Thompson (15-4-1) is fighting at a more methodical pace now, and that reduced output has led to more trouble than success. Still a capable striker with plenty of experience, Thompson’s conservative mindset isn’t going to do him any favors against a surging contender like Neal (13-2).
Sentimentality seems to be helping Thompson on the odds board. A long-time favorite in the UFC, he opened as the narrowest of favorites, but bettors have come to their senses are now favoring an explosive striker and capable ground technician. Thompson may have guile and experience, but he is not going to be able to beat Neal with brains alone.
A solid test for Neal
There is a lot to like about Neal. He is a strong striker, with great take down skills, and he has excellent footwork. Thompson isn’t going to try and bully him, but he’ll try to slow Neal down and frustrate him. This fight will be a good indicator of where Neal is at as he nears the top of the welterweight ranks, and he is in excellent position to pull off a victory.
Thompson’s defense is lacking, and he often drops his hands to goad his opponents into range for counters. Neal can’t give Thompson the look he needs to land money shots, so Neal will have to vary his approach and fire at angles to give the veteran pause. He’ll get comfortable and take a few chances to flash his power. Neal needs to keep the intensity up, and he’ll get the stoppage.
Youth will conquer age
Neal’s strength will shine through and he will overpower the conservative and aging Thompson. Thompson could stretch the fight out, but he is going to get worked over when Neal decides he is not going to give him any respect.