What was the high point of the fight?
Thompson tried to keep Neal at a distance by using his kicks and combinations as well as moving around the Octagon as much as possible. There were moments where Neal was able to pressure Thompson and put him up against the cage with a barrage of punches, but “Wonderboy” would find his way out and reset. A clash of heads toward the end of the first round slowed everything down for a bit because both men were cut near the center of their faces, but the action resumed after a brief pause by the referee.
Over the next couple of rounds, the story remained the same with Thompson being a very difficult target to hit for Neal. Despite finding some success alongside the cage and in the clinch, it was not enough for Neal to keep Thompson in one place for too long. The fourth and fifth rounds saw both men turn up the aggression with Neal going for broke against Thompson, who revealed to his corner that his right leg may have been injured. Although a finish seemed imminent, Thompson and Neal went through all 25 minutes of the fight.
Where do both men go from here?
Thompson looked fantastic in his return to the Octagon after over a year away dealing with injuries sustained from his last fight. His performance against Neal was something of a reminder of what he brings to the welterweight division, so he deserves a fight with an opponent ranked higher than him. There are two options for him here, one of which he already called for in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. Thompson could either rematch Jorge Masvidal or take on a completely new challenge in Colby Covington sometime in 2021.
Neal may have had his seven-fight win streak snapped by Thompson, but he proved a lot of points regarding his place in the division after this outing. I say keep him fighting those names in the top 15, so maybe a fight against someone like Vicente Luque would be the next move for Neal.
Watch it now, later or never?
This fight continued to get better and better for as long as it went on, so watch it now.