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Geoff Neal vs Stephen Thompson: Is “Wonderboy” the new gatekeeper?

UFC Fight Night, leading the event with the match between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal, promises to bring dramatic moments to the audience.

Stephen Thompson, although never won the championship, but he is one of the ‘hard to chew’ guys in this weight category with 2 championship challenges.

Possessing a record of 15 wins, 4 losses – 1 draw (only 1 defeat by knock-out) for the MMA career, 58 unbeaten matches for Kickboxing, Thompson shows his superior standing ability compared to martial arts other staff at UFC.

The above success is due to one skill: footwork (move). In MMA, standing still and holding your hands up to face high would be a bad choice when the gloves are small and you could be dropped on the floor at any time. Thompson has chosen a low-hand attack, flexible movement combined with precision strike.

With the ability to move, Thompson easily scored and escaped the pressure from powerful punches. Even a talented boxer like Jorge Masvidal admitted he had a hard time dealing with that ‘magic’ footwork.

However, a way to take down Thompson was not impossible. Through two skirmishes with Tyron Woodly, ‘Wonderboy’ struggled with the right hook. As for the match with Pettis, all of Thompson’s previous advantage was also terminated by a sudden heavy punch that popped out of the cage.

Coming from Dana White’s talent search program, Geoff Neal has had 6 consecutive victories, with 4 KO / TKO since UFC’s launch in 2017.

The last 2 wins were both TKO wins in the first half, against Mike Perry and Niko Price. Fast-paced and ready to attack, he is considered a worthy opponent for Stephen Thompson.

Since the surprise knockout against Anthony Pettis, Stephen Thompson’s stamina has begun to be questioned.

After many times falling into the situation of a thousand pounds hanging hair in front of Tyron Woodley, Darren Till, the audience also learned that “Wonderboy” can be completely knocked out like another punching glove of the same weight class.

In particular, when Thompson’s body does not have too many advantages compared to Geoff Neal, the “Handz of Steel” fast-paced attack style is said to have the ability to create surprises.

After the fluctuations of Welterweight lately, Stephen Thompson is sitting between the top group and emerging punchers. He does not have many chances to dispute the championship, but it is not an easy stone paving the way for young punches.

Therefore, the match with Geoff Neal at UFC Fight Night 183 is an important battle to determine the true position of Stephen Thompson in the near future, otherwise, he will be associated with the gatekeeper as many player of the same weight class.