This Saturday in the UFC Vegas 45, Stephen Thompson, a former two-time welterweight title challenger, will be in the cage with Belal Muhammad in a three-round co-main event. The fight will happen in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Thompson had enjoyed an impressive fighting season in 2019 and 2020, knocking out top fighters such as Vicente Luque and even the vicious Geoff Neal. He was in the run to win some titles after winning other significant fights. However, earlier this year, in July, Thompson suffered a defeat in his fight against Gilbert Burns; this loss was a considerable blow to his championship aspirations.
Thompson, who is just coming off his bitter defeat to Burns via decision at the UFC 264, sees his fight with Belal Muhammad in the UFC Vegas 45 as another opportunity to get back on track. He is looking forward to winning the battle and adding to his career record of 16–5–1. The 38-year-old fighter weighs 170lbs and measures 6'0".
Belal Muhammad seats in the 10th position in the Welterweight Division, and despite being young, he pushes himself to win very tough fights. He constantly defies all odds to emerge even in the most unfavourable fights. The 33-year-old weighs 170lb and has a height of 5'11". He looks forward to winning this fight against Thompson to add a win to his 19-3-0 record. He stretches 72".
Muhammad had faced Lean Edwards earlier this year on relatively short notice. However, the fight was cancelled after an unintentional eye poke led to a no-contest result. This meant that there was no change in ranking for Belal Muhammad. He had another fight with Demian Maria, that ended in a clean victory. This Saturday, his fight with Wonderboy will be a defining moment in his career. If he eventually defeats him, it will catapult him higher in the rankings of the Welterweight Division.
Muhammad Vs. Thompson Betting Odds
Who will have your money in the fight between Muhammad and Thompson? Muhammad has +180 points as the underdog, while Thompson is the favourite to win with a –225 point. Thompson seems to be the top choice to emerge the winner of the match due to his experience fighting top players worldwide. Muhammad may, however, use his position as a motivation to amaze spectators with a win. He may defy all odds, as he usually does, and emerge the winner in the fight.
What To Expect?
Thompson is a fierce fighter in the cage with an intriguing fighting style that leaves his opponents confused most of the time. An exciting element of his fight is his ability to keep a great distance and maintain a perfect attack range owing to his experience as a karate fighter. As he is called, Wonderboy brings in the wonder in the cage with his feet working magic as he bounces from one corner of the cage to another.
He uses the classic sideways stance and bounces around before delivering straight punches and front leg kicks. His unique footwork style ensures that his opponent does not see his kicks coming or what angles his punches may come from. Regarding significant strikes, Thompson averages 4.06 strikes per minute and lands about 43% of the effective punches and only allows 2.75 significant strikes per minute.
As he bounces around the ring, building momentum and slowing down the speed of the fight, infuriating his opponents most of the time that they seldom notice his enhanced speed or see his punches coming. He usually prods with his lead leg and watches as his opponent tries to bridge the space gap before delivering a powerful kick to knock them off balance. One remarkable major piece of his fighting style is how he can cut his opponent's blindside to ensure that he doesn't fall into any trap.
Wonderboy agrees that Muhammad is a great fighter and acknowledges his ability to take down his opponents and win them. He believes that if he can keep the fight standing, then he has higher chance of beating the opponent on the feet.
"If I finish him or if it's a fifteen-minute fight, I'm ready for a war. That is what I like to prepare myself for, I like to prepare myself for the grittiest fight for all time, the most uncomfortable fight known to mankind, that is what gives me confidence." Thompson said.
On the other hand, Belal Muhammad maintains a square stance spectrum, which means Thompson may not quickly get his straight shots except for the kicks targeted at the middle body.
Belal Muhammad has impressive fighting moves. He is skilled in Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and striking. Although he is the more rounded fighter, he remains the lesser specialist fighter. Belal Muhammad has a top-notch defensive strategy, while Thompson is a more vicious and often reckless fighter, Muhammad defends first and can counter the strikes and punches from a safe zone.
Belal would often take the risks of receiving punches and several hits to build momentum. He is a faster fighter and uses a lot of movement, and gets into early exchanges to get his opponents weak as the fight progresses. The fighter stretches 72" and connects an average of 4.61 strikes per minute and a striking accuracy of 42% and curbs about 60% of the strikes coming his way.
This means that we may watch Muhammad bully Thompson inside the cage, not minding the kicks and punches he would have to bear for this strategy to work. He is very good at cutting off the cage with lateral shots and good hooks. This puts his opponents in a corner where they struggle to escape from. However, this may not work for Thompson, a karate expert himself and so may not quickly get exhausted after some minutes.
In conclusion, we will have an entertaining and fierce fight between the two fighters as both fighters will want to end the year with a win and add to their record. Who will you be betting on?