It looks like the 2012 World MMA Scouting Report is off to a great start this year, and it's only getting better. After Max Holloway and Andrey Koreshkov signed on the dotted line with the UFC and Bellator respectively, it looks like the UFC has eyed another Scouting Report prospect to fill holes created by injuries.
According to the UFC's official Twitter account, #10-ranked welterweight Stephen Thompson will replace an injured Mike Stumpf at UFC 143. He'll face The Ultimate Fighter season 13 contestant Justin Edwards:
Don't know who Stephen Thompson is? We got you covered. Per the 2012 World MMA Scouting Report:
Luckily, 28-year-old Stephen Thompson (5-0) is well-versed on the ground, earning a Jiu-Jitsu black belt from his brother-in-law, none other than legendary grappler Carlos Machado. If that weren't enough, his thirty-two knockouts on the amateur kickboxing circuit and #1 ranking during his days in the World Combat League suggest he was a prodigy talent in the striking arts at a young age. Add twenty-four years of experience and a bevy of world-class training partners such as Georges St. Pierre and Rashad Evans to the mix, and you've got a fighter with loads of potential.
Edwards is considered more of a grappler than a striker, and it's almost a certainty that he'll attempt to bring this fight to the ground to avoid Thompson's heralded striking skills. The intrigue lies in what Thompson can truly offer on the ground against a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We'll find out at UFC 143 on February 4.