An intriguing welterweight clash of two-time title challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, and emerging striking ace, Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neal is currently targeted to feature at UFC Vegas 15 on December 19th. – from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Earmarked to make his first Octagon appearance since UFC 244 in November of last year at Madison Square Garden, Simpsonville native, Thomspon returned from his first career knockout loss to put on a striking clinic win over the gritty, Vicente ‘The Silent Assassin’ Luque over three-rounds.
Promotional-perfect prospect, Neal extended his undefeated run to five-fights in the Octagon at UFC 245 last December, scoring a first-round high-kick knockout win over the polarizing, ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry. The Texan was scheduled to clash with ‘The Haitian Sensation’ Neil Magny at UFC Vegas 8 in August but was removed from the bout after he was struck down with severe health issues. News of the eye-catching targeted striking pairing was first reported by ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto.
Linked continuously to a pairing with streaking division contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards over the course of the year, Thompson will feature on the same card as the Team Renegade trainee if his matchup with Neal comes to fruition, with the title hopeful clashing with emerging force, Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev in the event’s headliner.
Thompson, 37, looks to knock back a striking maestro like himself, and possibly edge his way closer to a third championship challenge under the UFC’s banner.
The South Carolina native has twice unsuccessfully pried the crown from then best, Tyron Woodley – but has scored notable Octagon wins over former world champions, Robert Whittaker, Johny Hendricks, and Rory MacDonald, to go with a UFC 217 decision win over BMF champion, Jorge Masvidal to name a few.
Fortis MMA and Sayif Saud product, Neal is an alum of Dana White’s Contenders Series, earning an Octagon deal with a first-round knockout victory over Chase Waldon.
In promotional wins since, Neal has bested Brian Camozzi, Frank Camacho, Belal Muhammad, Niko Price, and the above noted, Perry – earning him the #11 rank in the official 170-pound stack, and has been continuously been tipped to reach the division’s summit.