The winner of the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 264 might not get a shot at UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, that matchup seems to be reserved for Colby Covington. But that doesn’t mean the scrap between Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson isn’t an important one.
Burns, who is the No. 2 fighter in the official UFC 170-pound rankings, is coming off a February TKO loss to Usman. Before the loss to his former training partner, the 34-year-old Burns was on a six-fight winning streak.
Thompson, who fought former welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley twice during Woodley’s reign, has decision wins in his past two scraps. The 38-year-old, who is the No. 4 ranked UFC welterweight, fought Woodley to a draw in their first bout and dropped a majority decision to the champion the rematch. Thompson’s two recent wins came against Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal.
Fighting style could play a big role in the outcome of this matchup. Burns, who is one of the best grapplers in the UFC, has eight career submission wins. However, he has developed his striking as of late and his most recent stoppage was a 2020 knockout win over Demian Maia.
Thompson has always relied on his karate-based striking and that style has earned him seven career knockout wins. However, it’s been a while since Thompson earned a victory via strikes. HIs most recent knockout win came in 2016 when he stopped Johny Hendricks in the first round.
Below is a look at how Burns and Thompson matchup in head-to-head-stats before UFC 264.
UFC 264: Burns vs. Thompson head-to-head stats
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||3.22||4.24|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.04||2.8|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||2.08||0.32|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0.7||0|