Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
|Date & Time||Saturday March 23, 2019, 11:45 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Thompson -417 / Pettis +358 -- Over/Under:
Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN+ 6 at the Bridgestone Arena.
Stephen Thompson enters this fight with a 14-3-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Thompson has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a May loss to Darren Till. Thompson is averaging 3.45 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Thompson is averaging 0.41 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Thompson has lost two of his last three bouts, but he has yet to lose back-to-back fights in his career and you could argue the decision against Till, a fight that was very close in terms of the numbers. Thompson is a well conditioned striker who has never been finished in his career and is very polished defensively, almost never taking clean shots from his opponent. Thompson has a deep kickboxing background where he produced a 58-0 record, and he follows up those kicks with clean shots to the head that often turn the fight. Thompson is simply one of the more solid welterweights in the sport and is somebody who doesn’t beat himself when he steps into the octagon. Thompson’s fundamentals are on point and that gives him a chance to beat anybody you put in front of him. This will be Thompson’s first career fight in Tennessee.
Anthony Pettis enters this fight with a 21-8 record and has won 48 percent of his fights by knockout. Pettis has split his last six fights and is coming off an October loss to Tony Ferguson. Pettis is averaging 2.85 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Pettis is averaging 0.76 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Some would say Pettis isn’t the same fighter he once was, as he’s lost six of his last nine fights and each of his last three losses have been knockouts. Pettis also doesn’t look nearly as confident as he once did and doesn’t have that killer instinct to finish fights. There’s some truth to that, but Pettis did perform well against Ferguson and had his chances to close the deal, but El Cucuy would simply not go away and ended up winning a highly competitive bout that neared fight of the night honors. Pettis showed in that fight that the athleticism and striking accuracy is still there, it’s just a matter of being a little more patient and taking less damage. At just 32 years old, I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet on Pettis. This will be Pettis’ first career fight in Tennessee.
Pettis is worth a look with these odds given what he showed in his last bout and the fact the striking ability is still there. The results may not show it, but Pettis hasn’t fallen completely off the way some suggest. With that said, Thompson is the longer, rangy fighter who is as solid as they come and will use Pettis’ aggressiveness against him. Pettis has had trouble avoiding damage during this losing stretch, and with a fighter as patient and technically sound as Thompson, it’s hard to see this one being much different. Thompson should be able to pick Pettis’ apart with the leg kicks and counters, and he has the takedown define to force Pettis to fight his fight.
The price isn’t ideal, but Thompson should win this fight, adding to Pettis’ misery.