Top 5-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight contenders, Stephen Thompson (No. 2) and Jorge Masvidal (No. 4), locked horns tonight (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) at UFC 217, which took place inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, looking to lock-in a future 170-pound title shot.
It was a chess match early, with both strikers looking to gauge distance and pick their shots, but ultimately it was Thompson who settled in and got to work en route to a clear unanimous decision win.
Thompson came out in his traditional karate sideways stance, which Masvidal attacked immediately with a kick to his lead knee, attempting to hyperextend it. Thompson shook it off and slipped a crafty sideways kick to Masvidal’s belly shortly thereafter. Midway through the round Thompson burst in with a nice one-two combination that appeared to frustrate Masvidal. He followed it up with a clean combination moments later, then a another sidekick to the body that knocked Masvidal on his butt. Masvidal targeted Thompson’s lead leg with some nice kicks, but paid for it seemingly each time with hard counter shots.
Between rounds Masvidal’s corner urged him to turn up the pressure, but he still seemed perplexed with how to attack the unorthodox Thompson. Masvidal, though, soon caught a kick, which he used to drive Thompson into the cage and land a few short shots before he circled away from danger. Thompson responded quick, dropping Masvidal with a clean punch that he set up with a kick. Masvidal tried to return fire, but all he was catching was air — Thompson was nowhere to be found. Thompson, meanwhile, continued to float in-and-out of the pocket, stinging Masvidal with punches and then disappearing. Masvidal was able to finally catch him with a nice left hook, but Thompson just continued to circle away — he couldn’t do anything with it.
Likely down both rounds, Masvidal needed a finish ... and he started the final frame more aggressive than the previous pair. He came out looking to spark a fire fight and midway through the round he got his wish as both fighters began to open up and trade leather. Thompson, though, appeared to get the better of the exchanges, putting together his punches while Masvidal looked for the singular homerun shot. It never came, though, as Thompson rolled to a comfortable unanimous decision win.
Thompson is in a tough spot at the moment, having dropped back-to-back fights to reigning champion, Tyron Woodley, who is expected to fight the winner of Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos. That would mean “Wonderboy” would have to take a fight in the interim to keep busy.
I heard Colby Covington is looking to pick a fight.
For complete UFC 217 results, including play-by-play coverage, click here.