UFC closed out the year with it’s final card in a fantastic way as the veterans showed that the passing of the guard isn’t quite a thing just yet.
Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson dominated for 25 minutes against prospect Geoff Neal, to give ‘Handz of Steel’ his first UFC defeat and snapping his seven-fight win streak in the main event.
‘Wonderboy’ used his kicking range and excellent footwork throughout the fight to avoid the big exchanges and just picked Neal apart. A clash of heads saw both men face adversity at the end of the first round, but Neal never seemed to get out of first gear throughout and seemed gun-shy in his first UFC main event.
Following the win, Thompson promised to win the welterweight title in 2021 and called for a rematch with Jorge Masvidal for his next fight.
The two met at UFC 217 back in November 2017, with ‘Wonderboy’ dominating him in a similar way to this fight and getting a unanimous decision victory on the night. Since then though, Thompson had seen himself beaten controversially by Darren Till and then knocked out by Anthony Pettis which pushed him down the pecking order.
But now with back-to-back wins, he’s back pushing for a fight against a top five ranked opponent. He was originally calling for Leon Edwards, but with the Briton already booked against Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns already getting the next title shot, that leaves either Masvidal or Colby Covington left. They could fight each other but if not, Wonderboy is waiting.
In the bantamweight division, Jose Aldo snapped a three-fight losing streak to defeat prospect Marlon Vera in a very good fight. Aldo used his sharper boxing and eventually his jiu-jitsu grappling to etch his way to a unanimous decision win, but Vera was very game throughout.
The body shots of Aldo were once again a huge weapon, with the patented left-hook to the gut landing freely throughout the bout and visibly taking the air from Vera as the fight progressed.
Following the win the featherweight G.O.A.T called for a fight with TJ Dillashaw, who is arguably the best bantamweight we’ve seen.
Dillashaw was the champion at 135lbs and dropped down to 125lbs to try and become the double champ, only to test positive for a banned substance and get a two-year suspension. He admitted to taking the substance and is eligible for a return to action in January.
Many have called him out for his return bout, while Dillashaw himself has called for an immediate title shot. While that won’t be happening, a win over Jose Aldo could potentially push him into that conversation once again.