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UFC Vegas 17: Thompson vs. Neal - Main Fight Preview

Thompson vs. Neal 

Wonderboy Stephen Thompson (15-4-1 in MMA, 10-4-1 in UFC) is clearly close to the end of his career, close to turning 38 and with 15 fights only in the market leader. However, the American still shows joviality in the octagon, with his always very interesting style of watching standing. Thompson has been in an irregular phase in recent years, the former welterweight challenger gave Vicente Luque a beating, but first he was surprised by Anthony Pettis, knocked out with a beautiful superman punch and, against Darren Till, was defeated in a duel balanced.

Accredited kickboxer, Thompson is one of the best strikers in the UFC, with a style that a lot of people love, but many hate. With background in karate, Wonderboy moves very well, uses dodging frequently as the main defensive device. Offensively, his volume is not great, but Thompson when he finds himself uses an enviable technique both with punches and kicks, counter-punching well and when convenient applying strings close to the grid. The main doubt is when we will see a clearer decay in Thompson, which is likely to happen very soon, as advancing age does not help his style of play, which is usually fast, abusing reflexes and without a system guard-based defensive.

Texano, Contender Series breeder and Fortis MMA athlete, Geoff Neal (13-2 in MMA, 5-0) more than deserves a jump in the competition level. Neal remained undefeated in the fights he had at the event, reaching the category ranking with four interruptions - the only dispute in the decision was against the resistant Belal Muhammad. In his last appearance, Geoff obliterated the tough Mike Perry, ending the fight with a sensational blitz that resulted in the TKO.

Very aggressive, Neal is always advancing and seeking to end the fight. Standing Neal has a good volume of blows, very well executed strokes and an extremely dangerous high kick, which the vast majority of his opponents felt the pleasure of receiving in the UFC. For being so aggressive, Neal occasionally ends up being hit, against Niko Price for example he was almost knocked out. Wrestling is not widely used offensively, but it is an existing option for Geoff, since it has a ground and pound that defines combat. One of the main prospects to emerge in the under 77kg division, this duel defines both whether Neal has the potential for title contests and Thompson's current career situation.

If Geoff Neal is inside the cage, you can know that the fight will be spectacular. Thompson on some occasions delivered overly studied fights, but against an opponent who is usually the aggressor, I doubt that will happen. Neal has all the potential to knock out Wonderboy in a row, for being fast and for having heavy fists, but technically it is difficult to be on the same level as Stephen. If it doesn't show a sharp drop in performance, mainly defensive, I believe we will see Thompson's arm raised, with a late knockout.