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UFC 209: Stephen Thompson, 'Fighter To Watch' tonight in Las Vegas

MMA: UFC 209-Weigh Ins Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Thompson will have one more chance to debunk the power game of Tyron Woodley later tonight (Sat., Mar. 4, 2017) at UFC 209 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first time “Wonderboy” stepped inside of the Octagon with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight king he found himself on the edge of being knocked out. Woodley clobbered Thompson whenever he could and nearly choked him unconscious in front of a wild New York City crowd at UFC 205. But in the end, the rangy Karate master held his ground and escaped with a majority draw and a chance to do it again.

Tonight, “Wonderboy” will need to prove that he can withstand the power punching of Woodley in order change his fortunes from the first fight. We’ve really never seen a fighter get to Thompson like the champ did back in November, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the challenger will do differently to limit the damage he absorbs and increase his own offensive workload.

After all, UFC 205 was a tentative moment for “Wonderboy.” Fight fans didn’t see him throw nearly the same amount of kicks and combinations from the outside that they’re used to dropping their jaws to. Thompson’s lack of output the first time around obviously had something to do with Woodley’s ability to take him down and score points from top position, but the lengthy striker must abandon that concern this evening in favor of more production on the feet.

This is a huge stage to say the least. Ever since Thompson broke onto the scene and strung together main event victories over Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald, UFC has pushed “Wonderboy” to the front of the pack and given him the chance to become a bona fide superstar. His fighting style is as infectious as it is attractive to casual fight fans, so all he needs is that one career-defining win to push him through the proverbial glass ceiling. If he can’t come through in the clutch this evening and cash in on yet another golden opportunity, it may be time for the promotion to push another welterweight to the top. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 209 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

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