Mandatory Credit: Cooper Neil – Zuffa LLC & Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC
At his sparkling best last night in the main event of UFC Vegas 17, two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson scored his second successive victory, via a masterclass display of striking against surging kickboxer, Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neal.
It’s two wins on the trot for the #5 ranked division mainstay, adding the Fortis MMA staple to a masterful performance at UFC 244 in November of last year, where he picked up a dominant triumph over the gritty, Vicente Luque.
Despite suffering what he believes is a potential muscle or tendon injury to his right leg before the fifth and final round, Thompson had laid solid foundations in the prior four frames to score a rather one-sided 50-45 (x3) unanimous decision victory.
The Simpsonville native, who turns 38-years-old in February was at his mobile best throughout the twenty-five-minute battle, evading the aggressive counters from Neal, before setting up perfectly placed counter offence of his own.
With the path to the division’s top-five still going through South Carolina, Thompson spoke with former two-weight world champion and UFC colour-commentator, Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier afterwards, where he called for an ‘NMF vs. BMF’ rematch with Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal, after noting a failed attempt to secure a matchup with perennial contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards earlier this year.
“You know, I was poking at a guy (Leon Edwards) ranked higher than me not too long ago on Twitter, in the nicest way possible,” Thompson said. “He wasn’t having it, but yes, this is two in a row. (Geoff Neal was) ranked number-eleven. I’m definitely working my way up. I want to see the NMF vs. the BMF, baby. Let’s make that happen. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal II. I know he’s talking about fighting Colby Covington but we’ll see.“
Having first shared the Octagon at the monumental UFC 217 event back in November 2017 at Madison Square Garden, Thompson met with the American Top Team staple, Masvidal — handing the Floridian contender his second straight loss via a unanimous decision victory.
In the time since, a rejuvenated Masvidal had strung together a three-fight winning spree, besting Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz before a short-notice UFC 251 title challenge defeat to incumbent best, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman.
Constantly linked with a showdown with former friend and teammate, the above mentioned Covington — a pairing of the two has yet to be nailed down by the promotion, with the possible matchup still tentatively targeted for the time being. If that’s a fight that eludes Masvidal, Thompson certainly wants to run it back with the fan-favourite BMF championship holder.