In the second of three title fights at UFC 205, Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (16-3 MMA; 6-2 UFC) makes his first title defense, taking on Stephen Thompson (13-1 MMA; 8-1 UFC). The UFC rankings have Thompson as the #2 contender at 170 pounds; champion Woodley sits at #9 on the pound for pound list. UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor airs live from Madison Square Garden in New York this Saturday, November 12. The special six fight main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
Woodley’s first title defense is an interesting stylistic match-up. It’s possible this becomes an old school wrestler vs. striker match, with Woodley using his wrestling game, and Thompson his karate. But Woodley has also developed his striking over the years, adding an extra layer to the fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
How do these two stack up?
Woodley: 34 years old | 5’9" | 74" reach
Thompson: 33 years old | 6’0" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
Woodley: W - Robbie Lawler (KO) | W - Kelvin Gastelum (SD) | W - Dong Hyun Kim (TKO)
Thompson: W - Rory MacDonald (UD) | W - Johny Hendricks (TKO) | W - Jake Ellenberger (KO)
How did these two get here?
Champion Tyron Woodley had a very good run in Strikeforce before coming to the UFC. He’s been a bit hot and cold since, with some very good, aggressive, fast finishes mixed in with drawn out decision losses. Since a loss to Rory MacDonald, he’s gone 3-0, picking up his first decision win since 2012, and ultimately knocking out his ATT teammate Robbie Lawler to claim the UFC title. He’s now angling for big fight opportunities - here he may not have a huge name opponent, but he does have a very high profile opportunity on this landmark card.
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson came to the UFC very early in his pro MMA career at just 5-0. With a strong kickboxing and karate background, Thompson turned heads quickly with his flashy style. He suffered an early loss to veteran grinder Matt Brown, but has shown major improvements ever since. He’s currently on a 7 fight win streak, culminating in a huge 2016 that includes a KO over former champion Johny Hendricks, and a big win over top contender Rory MacDonald. Like Lyoto Machida, Thompson is showing that there is still room at the top of MMA for the traditional martial arts striking specialist, but can he take those skill all the way to a world title?
Why should you care?
Title fight between two men known for sudden, violent KOs. Sounds like a good reason to me.