Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson looks to get his UFC career back on track against the dangerous Belal Muhammad on Saturday.
UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Daukaus has a plethora of quality fights and Thompson vs Muhammad fits the bill.
The winner takes a huge leap in the welterweight rankings and UFC betting markets think that will be Thompson, who is the -260 favorite.
Stephen Thompson vs Belal Muhammad
Thompson Respecting Opponent
It’s refreshing to see fighters give respect to their opponents, which is what Thompson has done.
Thompson is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC, but he comes up against Muhammad, who went three rounds when beating Demian Maia in June.
The win put Muhammad on the map and Thompson is giving him the ultimate respect.
“I feel like I do have the height and reach (advantage) but again I’ve seen him fight taller and longer guys and he works them,” Thompson told LowkickMMA. “The guy has got a work ethic and spirit like no other.
“I mean, he’s relentless, he comes forward, he wrestles, he’s got amazing cardio. I mean, you saw his wrestling against Demian Maia. I’ve never seen that before. I’ve never seen anybody defend Demian Maia like he did.”
The sportsbook is expecting Thompson to have little problem defending Muhammad. He is paying -260 to win, which is a short quote for the 16-5-1 fighter. However, Thompson has battled with some of the best in the business.
The 38-year-old owns wins over Geoff Neal, Vicente Luque, Jorge Masvidal and Johny Hendricks. It’s a long list of victories, but his loss to Gilbert Burns in July hurt his record.
He’ll need to up his input against Muhammad to come away with the victory.
Muhammad Continues to Impress
He’s not yet a household name, but beating Thompson at UFC Fight Night would get Muhammad closer.
The 33-year-old Chicago native showed his toughness when beating Maia and he also owns wins over Tim Means and Lyman Good.
“Remember the Name” is hoping people will remember his name following the fight against Thompson. A win would elevate his career, which has been stymied with untimely losses.
Just when it looked like Muhammad was close to a potential title shot, he would lose. Notable losses to Geoff Neal, Vicente Luque and Alan Jouban weren’t surprising, but losing to Thompson would put him on the back foot.
Betting online markets have Muhammad at +200, so he’s not expected to win. However, he’s tough to knock out and he could push Thompson to produce his best.
Take the Shorts
Betting on a fighter to win at -260 odds isn’t easy, especially after UFC 269 produced so many upset results. However, Thompson should get the job done.
Thompson has fought the best in the division and often comes out with his hand raised. He knows what it takes to beat guys like Muhammad, so we’re expecting a three-round slugfest.
We can’t see the fight being stopped before the final bell, so back Thompson to win and via decision. He’s one of our UFC best bets for the Fight Night card.