Final Combating Championship (UFC) Welterweight kickboxers Anthony Pettis and Stephen Thompson will duel TONIGHT (Sat., March 23, 2019) from Bridgestone Enviornment in Nashville, Tennessee.
There may be some logic in Pettis’ choice to leap as much as Welterweight. He has too many losses to prime Lightweights to be thought-about a prime contender there — plus, the division is massively log-jammed. Featherweight proved too drastic a reduce for “Showtime.” Fairly than keep stranded at 155 kilos, Pettis has chosen to function the cube in an enormous means. The current outcomes across the division have drastically aided Thompson’s place. With Tyron Woodley now not the king, one other Thompson title shot is now a chance. Nevertheless, “Wonderboy” has to get again within the win column first, which begins reverse “Showtime.”
Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the keys to victory for every man:
Key Wins: Rory MacDonald (UFC Struggle Evening 89), Johny Hendricks (UFC Struggle Evening 82), Jorge Masvidal (UFC 217), Robert Whittaker (UFC 178)
Key Losses: Tyron Woodley (UFC 211), Darren Until (UFC Struggle Evening 130), Matt Brown (UFC 145)
Keys to Victory: Thompson is without doubt one of the sport’s finest Karate fighters. Gliding in-and-out of vary and taking angles rapidly, “Wonderboy” has confirmed extremely elusive and sharp on the counter.
In opposition to a smaller man seeking to kickbox, Thompson needs to be in his wheelhouse — just like the Masvidal victory. Pettis doesn’t carry with him the uncooked energy of Woodley or Until that compelled Thompson to hesitate, that means Thompson ought to really feel a bit extra open in letting his strikes fly.
As well as, that dimension benefit will probably be important at distance. Each males more likely to fastidiously handle their vary and pressure their opponent to come back up brief, however that’s a a lot simpler tactic for the longer man. Plus, Thompson’s side-on type of kicking extends his vary additional than Pettis’ favored spherical kicks.
In brief, Thompson ought to discover nice success in touchdown from a distance his foe can not match, and few are higher at sustaining that candy spot than “Wonderboy.”
Key Wins: Benson Henderson (UFC 164, WEC 53), Gilbert Melendez (UFC 181), Donald Cerrone (UFC on FOX 6), Michael Chiesa (UFC 223), Charles Oliveira (UFC on FOX 21)
Key Losses: Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 185), Tony Ferguson (UFC 229), Edson Barboza (UFC 197), Max Holloway (UFC 206), Dustin Poirier (UFC Struggle Evening 120)
Keys to Victory: For higher or worse, Pettis has constantly confronted the best possible fighters the world has to supply in the last few years. The previous champion is a slick Taekwondo black belt with brutal spherical kicks, and his submissions are exceptionally fast.
There’s a cause that Pettis is such a big underdog right here. It’s not essentially the most damning type match up potential for his Welterweight debut — that might be a kind of suffocating wrestlers like Usman or Covington — however it’s additionally tough to find a path to victory for Pettis. At vary, Pettis will probably be kicking with a much bigger man who’s doubtlessly higher at kicking than him. Ought to Pettis attempt to stress along with his fingers, that’s by no means been his type, and Thompson tends to thrive in opposition to such opponents.
Finally, Pettis has to maintain Thompson pinned alongside the fence as a lot as potential. Thompson typically does a pleasant job of switching instructions and angling off when confronted with stress (see his above method spotlight), however he’s by no means confronted a person who can kick so powerfully from each side like Pettis. If “Showtime” can use each the Southpaw left spherical kick and Orthodox proper spherical kick to make the cage small, out of the blue “Wonderboy” is much less comfy and his dimension benefit a lot much less significant.
Backside Line: It’s a bizarre battle, one which might be a stupendous show of kickboxing or one thing of a staring contest.
All the identical, it’s a massively vital battle for Thompson. “Wonderboy” as soon as once more has an open path to the title, however he must win a pair fights first. Now could be completely not the time for a setback, as Thompson’s ideally suited 2019 would go one thing alongside the traces of: defeat Pettis, win a title eliminator over the summer time, and face the victor of Usman-Covington earlier than the tip of the yr.
Will it work out fairly that neatly? Most likely not, however all potential paths start with Pettis tonight.
As for the previous Light-weight champion, it’s exhausting to say what this battle means to him. Is it a one-off battle, supposed merely to get Pettis a fundamental occasion slot in opposition to a person unlikely to stress him relentlessly or try to bully him with wrestling? Or is Pettis’ transfer to 170 kilos a extra severe one, genuinely supposed to revive Pettis’ standing as a title menace?
Realistically, I anticipate the result of tonight’s scrap to find out that reply and Pettis’ combating future.
MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your complete UFC Struggle Evening 148 battle card on battle evening (click on right here), beginning with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 5 p.m. ET, adopted by the ESPN+ fundamental card begin time at Eight p.m. ET.
For way more on this weekend’s UFC: “Nashville” occasion click on right here.
TONIGHT at UFC Struggle Evening 148, Anthony Pettis and Stephen Thompson will battle in the principle occasion. Which man will earn the victory?
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