UFC’s biggest main event of the year so far. We find a rematch in the welterweight division for the championship belt. Champion Tyron Woodley placed his title on the line against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
We first saw this march this past fall in what became an instant classic and the type of fight we look forward to whenever two people step into the Octagon. A fight that ended in a majority draw, leaving audiences and both fighters looking forward to a rematch.
The first fight went exactly how many could have imagined it. Woodley came out hitting hard and fast. But Wonderboy would try to score points using the reach of his jabs and kicks. Three solid rounds between two of the best. Woodley easily won the first round. Thompson came back with some flashes of himself to even things out, whereas rounds two and three could have been either man’s round. Then we got the delightful round four that we’ll still be talking about well passed UFC 300. A solid punch to Thompson’s grill saw him buckle and fall against the fence. Woodley pounced immediately. Seconds later Wonderboy found himself on the business end of a guilletine, that was tighter than the screws on my son’s bike. What happened next was close to a minute worth of glory where we saw Stephen Thompson fight through it without tapping, only to come out on top position throwing down blows. The fifth saw both fighters gassed, with neither taking any serious damage, but definitely Wonderboy out-pointing Woodley.
It was kind of exhausting to watch. A fight where you really couldn’t be upset with the outcome because it would give us a sequel to look forward to.
So where will this fight end up? It could depend on who you want to see winning. Many are calling the champ an underdog. That of course would add to his claim of being disrespected. There really wasn’t anything he did to make you think he should have lost the first fight. One of the scorecards did have him winning. Maybe Woodley is right in a way.
If he connects with any of his shots Saturday night, he could easily come out retaining his title. Wonderboy on the other hand has to keep up with his reach advantage and striking. Maybe one of those slips through to the right spot. Either way, I say one of these two have to come out with a KO victory. And to be honest, if it didn’t can we really be mad if it went to the judges again?
Some of our most favorite fights happen when you’re rooting for one fighter, but you know you have to put your money the other way. That’s what we have tonight.