Saturday night, UFC fans will finally get to see the second installment of one of the best fights inside the Octagon in 2016.
This weekend, UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley and number one contender Stephen Thompson will battle in the Main Event at UFC 209 in Las Vegas.
These two 170-pounders first met back in November at Madison Square Garden for the Co-Main Event at UFC 205. After a hard-fought five-round classic that displayed flashes of brilliance from both combatants, two of the judges scored the fight 47-47 and one had Woodley with a 48-47 edge, leading to announcer Bruce Buffer mistakenly declaring that Woodley had won by majority decision instead of the actual majority draw score.
After the bout, UFC President Dana White immediately declared that both fighters would meet in a main event rematch.
“Wonderboy” Thompson (13-1-1, 7 KO’s) has a deep karate & kickboxing pedigree, which shows in his precision stand-up striking, while Woodley (16-3-1, 6 KO’s), a former Division 1 All-American collegiate wrestler, holds the edge on the ground and also possesses dangerous hand-speed and knockout power with his boxing.
In their first meeting, Woodley bloodied up Thompson early with stiff jabs to the nose and nearly choked out the challenger in the fourth round with a guillotine choke that “Wonderboy” was able to escape from — surviving the round.
In this meeting, the Champ knows that he has to take away the distance from Thompson and get him to the ground early. From there, Woodley can either look to control with strikes or shoot for a submission attempt.
However, the main key in this bout will be controlling the tempo early. Neither fighter is going to leave this bout up to the judges again, so I anticipate action right from the opening bell as opposed to the first fight, when both men used the first round to size up one another.
- Tyron Woodley (+130) vs Stephen Thompson (-150)
- Date: Saturday, March 4
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Time: 11:00pm EST
- TV: Pay-Per-View (Call your Local Cable or Satellite Provider)
The early money has shown up on Thompson, who opened at most sports books as a -150 favorite, but I think there’s tremendous value on Woodley here as a short underdog. We’ve heard Tyron complain about how he feels he doesn’t get enough exposure from the UFC as one of their champions, so he’s entering this bout with a ton to prove. At a price of +130, I like Tyron Woodley to win by TKO early in this match and retain his title.