It isn’t a welterweight matchup that has any top-10 or title implications, but the 170-pound fight at UFC 170 between Stephen Thompson and Robert Whittaker could very well produce one of the Performance of the Night bonuses. Both competitors have had a tendency to be involved in entertaining contests, and fans are hoping to see that trend continue this weekend when they square off in Las Vegas.
Thompson has compiled a 3-1 record inside the Octagon and is fresh off a devastating performance against Chris Clements at UFC 165 when he stopped the veteran in the second round. “Wonderboy” possesses a dangerous and diverse striking game with his kickboxing pedigree, and made quite an immediate impact with the promotion when he delivered a Knockout of the Night via head kick against Dan Stittgen at UFC 143 in his debut.
He’s put together an 8-1 career mark, with that lone defeat having come by decision at UFC 145 against surging veteran Matt Brown.
As for Whittaker, the former welterweight winner of the Ultimate Fighter: the Smashes has shown a strong ability to finish fights during his career as well. 10 of his 11 victories have been by either knockout or submission. While he’s known more as a striker, “The Reaper” does possess some strong grappling skills as well. He’s coming off the first loss of his UFC tenure as his two-fight win streak with the promotion was ended by Court McGee at Fight Night 27.
Whittaker was on the wrong end of a split-decision verdict in a bloody and spirited battle where both men showcased powerful striking skills and sturdy chins. Whittaker’s most impressive effort was a stoppage of fellow Ultimate Fighter winner Colton Smith at UFC 160.
This contest seems to have the makings of a highly-explosive affair between two dangerous strikers who have shown an ability to close the show. Thompson has been hoping to get a chance to avenge the Brown loss and would definitely have some positive momentum and move up the rankings if he’s able to secure a third straight victory. The tough Whittaker is hoping to find his way back into the win column and will need to be at the top of his game in order to get the job done.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports