Former two-time welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson, nonetheless ranked No. 6 within the division’s prime 10, will tackle fellow wrestling foe Kevin Holland on the upcoming UFC Orlando combined martial arts (MMA) occasion scheduled for Saturday. night time (Dec. 3, 2022) on ESPN and ESPN+ from the Amway Middle in Orlando, Florida. This five-round headliner won’t solely give the unranked Holland an opportunity to bounce again from his loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 final September, but in addition set up the hot-and-cold “Trailblazer” as a Prime 15 contender. As for Thompson, a couple of weeks shy of his fortieth birthday, Holland’s back-and-forth retains “Wonderboy” afloat in his pursuit of the 170-pound title.
Earlier than we preview and predict winners for the UFC Orlando essential and co-main occasions that includes the welterweight conflict between Rafael dos Anjos and Bryan Barberena, try Patrick Stumburg’s complete, two-part breakdown for the UFC Orlando “prelims” card on ESPN. and ESPN+ by clicking right here and right here. Moreover, in-house professional fighter Andrew Richardson deconstructs the remaining UFC Orlando essential card fights proper right here. The most recent “Thompson vs. Holland” Go right here for odds and betting strains.
Let’s discuss store.
170 lbs.: Stephen Thompson Vs. Kevin Holland
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Vikram: 16-6-1 | age: 39 | Betting line: +140
wins: 7 KO/TKO, 1 SAT, 8 DEC | injury: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SAT, 5 DEC
peak: 6’0“ | reaches: 75” | Rukhrukh: Orthodox
Vital strikes landed per minute: 3.90 | Surprising accuracy: 43%
Strikes absorbed per minute: 2.81 | Influence safety: 56%
Elimination common: 0.29 (41% accuracy) | Takedown Protection: 63%
Present rating: No. 6 | The final combat: Loss to Belal Muhammad by unanimous determination
Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland
Vikram: 23-8, 1 NC | age: 30 | Betting line:-165
wins: 13 KO/TKO, 6 SAT, 4 DEC | injury: 0 KO/TKO, 3 SAT, 5 DEC
peak: 6’3“ | reaches: 81” | Rukhrukh: Orthodox
Vital strikes landed per minute: 3.85 | Surprising accuracy: 54%
Strikes absorbed per minute: 2.38 | Influence safety: 55%
Elimination common: 0.83 (43% accuracy) | Takedown Protection: 50%
Present rating: Unordered | The final combat: Submission loss to Khamjat Chimaev
I do not suppose the soon-to-be 40-year-old Stephen Thompson has a lot left at this level in his UFC profession, and whenever you have a look at what “Wonderboy” has finished in his decade-long Octagon, I am undecided he has a lot to start with. I do know that sounds harsh however should you have a look at his greatest run underneath the UFC banner, beginning 8-1 with seven straight wins, you may discover that seven of these eight opponents are now not within the promotion. Within the years since that electrical begin, Thompson is 3-5-1 with back-to-back losses. Moreover, the previous kickboxing phenom hasn’t completed since plastering Johny Hendricks’ store at UFC Battle Evening 82 practically seven years in the past in Las Vegas. Within the 10 fights that adopted, Anthony Pettis misplaced 9 by determination and one by knockout, however Thompson remains to be ranked No. 6 within the 170-pound rankings. This was partly as a result of “Wonderboy” was in a position to win well timed choices over Vicente Luke and Geoff Neal, however principally as a result of Thompson was sensible sufficient to avoid Shavkat Rakhmonov, a lot to the dismay of rabid “Nomadic” followers. There’s not a lot to say about Thompson that we do not already know. He is a sensible striker with cage consciousness and completely terrific wrestling, however pairing him with the identical opponent does not assure fireworks. To wit, his five-round headliners towards Jorge Masvidal and Darren Until had been principally forgettable.
I believe it is going to be as much as Kevin Holland to place up a enjoyable combat for that. The previous “Contender Sequence” stud has solely been part of the UFC for 4 years and has 16 fights underneath his belt, two fewer than Thompson, who has been competing within the UFC since early 2012. That is as a result of Holland has a Cerrone-esque method to combating and has unfold his abilities throughout two completely different weight courses. Clearcut losses to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori made it clear that “Trailblazer” is best suited at welterweight, particularly when you think about his common peak (6’3”) and attain (81”). Contemplating the seriousness of that efficiency, not less than within the context of UFC Orlando, I do not need to get too mad about his UFC 279 loss to Khamzat Chimaev, as “Borz” was an important last-minute wrestling opponent (packing on a couple of further kilos). Like Thompson, Holland does not need to compete towards opponents who will drag him to the bottom and management him at will, which implies he can overlook about making any form of run for the 170-pound title in a division that includes Chimaev, Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman and Belal Muhammad, who Holland has Rory McDonald. He gave Nate Diaz the remedy at UFC 129. How properly Holland does towards Thompson all is dependent upon which model of the “Trailblazer” exhibits up in “The Sunshine State” tomorrow night time. If we get a basket case that speaks for itself many of the combat, a la Paulo Filho, I am siding with “Wonderboy.” If we get Holland knocked round by Alex Oliveira and Tim Means, I believe we’ll end the combat late.
Prediction: Holland def. Thompson by submission
170 lbs: Rafael dos Anjos Vs. Brian Barberena
Rafael dos Anjos
Vikram: 31-14 | age: 38 | Betting line:-540
wins: 5 KO/TKO, 10 SAT, 16 DEC | injury: 4 KO/TKO, 0 SAT, 10 DEC
peak: 5’8“ | reaches: 70” | Rukhrukh: Southpaw
Vital strikes landed per minute: 3.58 | Surprising accuracy: 46%
Strikes absorbed per minute: 3.23 | Influence safety: 61%
Elimination common: 1.96 (34% accuracy) | Takedown Protection: 59%
Present rating: No. 7 (Mild) | The final combat: Knocked out to Rafael Fiziv
By Brian “Bam Bam” Barber
Vikram: 18-8 | age: 33 | Betting line: +420
wins: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SAT, 5 DEC | injury: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SAT, 5 DEC
peak: 6’0“ | reaches: 72” | Rukhrukh: Southpaw
Vital strikes landed per minute: 6.11 | Surprising accuracy: 48%
Strikes absorbed per minute: 5.01 | Influence safety: 44%
Elimination common: 0.16 (25% accuracy) | Takedown Protection: 55%
Present rating: Unordered | The final combat: TKO win over Robbie Lawler
Rafael dos Anjos is in double-digit losses with 14, yet another than Nate Diaz however two fewer than Jorge Masvidal, a pair of fighters that Dos Anjos likes and respects for his or her play within the cage. Does this make them nice fighters? Dos Anjos had a stellar light-weight profession, culminating in a 155-pound title shot, however has faltered at welterweight the place the Brazilian constantly finds himself each outsized and outwrestled. Dos Anjos returned to 170 kilos as a result of making the light-weight restrict was all the time a burden, and at age 38, I am certain he is reached the purpose the place combat week is a ache. It is also protected to say that the light-weight will not reap the identical rewards once more, as evidenced by his knockout loss to Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 58. That leaves the previous champ at 5-5 in his final 10 fights, and win or lose, I am not anticipating a second title in both division attributable to his age and his lack of ability to defeat prime contenders. Thankfully for the Brazilian, the advert is lobbing a softball at APEX this weekend.
That is no disrespect to Brian Barberena as he earned his spot on the 170-pound roster after eight years of competitors and 5 “Battle of the Evening” bonuses. He’s additionally a three-time champion, together with a technical knockout victory over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler final summer season. I simply suppose stylistically, dos Anjos presents a harder puzzle than the one he needed to clear up towards Lawler and Matt Brown, some strikers extra keen to swing for the fence than drop to their mouthpieces. Like dos Anjos, the 30-year-old Barbera fights from a southpaw place however may have a two-inch benefit in each peak and attain. I do know that sounds necessary on paper however “Bam Bam” is not a slick striker or a artful boxer, so I do not anticipate him to work on the surface the place these sorts of stats apply. As a substitute, he’ll be counting on the identical components that has not solely received him 4 of his final 5 contests however stored him “within the combine” from card to card. I believe the query that creeps into this combat is whether or not or not dos Anjos nonetheless has the endurance (and the chin). A 3-round contest has a bit extra urgency and the judges love busy work, I simply have a tough time imagining a well-rounded fighter like Dos Anjos caught in a cellphone sales space combat when there are such a lot of different avenues to victory.
Prediction: Dos Anjos def. By presenting Barberena
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