Stephen Thompson kicks Vicente Luque at UFC 244

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Brazil’s MMA showman Michel Pereira both return this weekend to clash with one another. Following a main event victory over Kevin Holland this past winter, Wonderboy looks to make it back-to-back wins and cement his position as the #7 welterweight.

Sitting at #15 himself, defeating the longtime veteran and former title challenger would go a long way in possibly securing the Brazilian his own shot in the top 10.

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Betting Odds

Wonderboy will come in as the -150 favorite, meaning $150 is what it will cost to win $100 profit.

  • Stephen Thompson: -150 (BetUS)
  • Michel Pereira: +120 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Michel Pereira is a far stretch from the man who entered the octagon for the first time. At one point, the theatrics of his style, including backflips, catapulting himself off the cage, and flying at his opponents, would cause him to expend all of his energy and gas out before the fight had hit it’s halfway mark. The current version of Pereira still shows flashes of his acrobatic style but at a much more measured pace and at more calculated opportunities. he is still supremely explosive and uses creative entries and strikes to land on his opponents, he will feint and move laterally to set up flurries and sniping shots down the middle. His best and most effective strike has been a stabbing front snap kick down the pipe to the mid section, which blocks his opponents re-entries to counter, and lands to bellies exposed as his opponents weave away from his punches.

“Wonderboy” Thompson is probably the best Karateka the sport has ever seen. he stands in a southpaw bladed stance and uses his lead leg side kick as if a jab. These kicks serve to frustrate his opponents trying to find their way in and generally manage distance for him. A combination of this and angular footwork make up for an upright posture and less head movement. He never enters with his punches on a straight line, shifting to land crosses from both sides around the guard, one tactic in particular being a crafty circle left casually, to an explosive cut back and left cross, right and right exit. he will also burst forward and stuff the lead hand of his opponent with his right jabbing hand, to land the cross and throw a cross step flurry across the cage. He is a master at prodding the body with his kicks, to set up his lead hook or spinning hook kicks to the head, or draw his opponents into over extending past the kicks and into an intercepting left straight. While it is very rare than anyone counters Wonderboy cleanly, when he does, it’s more than naught a slipping overhand right to this left cross but the ability to time Wonderboy is as difficult to attain as it gets.

The two men match up peculiarly. By virtue of his bladed stance and upright posture, Wonderboy largely negates Pereira’s best strike; the front snap kick. This is because the stomach of Wonderboy is not exposed and the constantly moving lead leg blocks the ribs, the upright posture does not allow for Wonderboy find himself stationary enough to constantly expose the body when dealing with punches either. Both men love to cross step forward, but wonder boy is superior at cutting off rushes with his angle off cross. Pereira does a very good job of threatening with bursts like his flying knee when his opponents trap him against the cage, and this will allow him to avoid Wonderboy getting to T off on him. He should also look to use his low jab to right over hand as Wonderboy already carries a low guard and could react to a low jab as if a level change or merely try to swipe away.


The biggest obstacle for Pereira is an extended fight. While he may be able to catch Wonderboy with one well timed explosion, the longer the fight goes the more it favours the American. Pereira’s cardio has vastly improved but he fights in waves, going hard, fading for a moment and catching a second breathe to continue.

Wonderboy keeps a constant pace and is coming off of a gruelling five rounder where he largely dominated. He is also far more experienced at the highest level and his style is built around frustrating his opponents by landing in bursts and moving away from possible counters.

Pereira already seemingly has a need to “get one back” when he is hit clean at times, and has been known to over extend already without being frustrated by the figurative line in the sand that Wonderboy draws with his kicks. That impatience is lethal against someone like Wonderboy, but at the same time he has to balance it with being out worked by the vet. Pereira may have some success early, but as time goes on I think Wonderboy pulls away with the fight.

Pick: Stephen Thompson to win (-150)

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