UFC 170 has been hit with a myriad of untimely injuries, but this welterweight matchup between Stephen Thompson (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Robert Whittaker (11-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is one of the few that has survived the numerous changes to the card. This is a rare booking of a fighter coming off a win (Thompson) against one off a loss (Whittaker).
Both combatants are dangerous strikers with knockout power. As a PPV opener it should be able to serve its purpose as a crowd pleaser. The UFC 170 main card airs live on PPV at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with prelims starting on UFC Fight Pass at 7 PM ET and continuing on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET.
How do these two stack up?
Thompson: 31 years old | 6'0" | 75" reach
Whittaker: 23 years old | 5'11" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
We know "Wonderboy" from his wicked head kick KO of Dan Stittgen in his UFC debut, and the hype train immediately gained steam. Matt Brown exposed holes in both his striking defense and ground game, forcing what was then considered an "upset" win. Injuries put Thompson out for an extended period of time, but he's bounced back with wins over Nah-Shon Burrell and most recently Chris Clements, who he took apart with an array of strikes en route to a TKO.
Whittaker won the TUF Smashes welterweight final over the UK's Brad Scott via decision. The young Aussie overcame a poor start against TUF 16 winner Colton Smith to knock him out in the final round, as his boxing was too much for Smith to handle. Whittaker then faced TUF 11 champ Court McGee last August, engaging in a fun back-and-forth scrap with McGee coming out the victor by split decision.
Why should you care?
These are two strikers in the mid-tier of the division looking to stake their claim for a tougher challenge. It should be a fun one.