In the co-main event of UFC 264, we saw a pivotal matchup between top welterweight contenders. Former title challengers Gilbert BurnsÂ (19-4) andÂ Stephen â€œWonderboyâ€ Thompson (16-4-1) went head-to-head as both looked to get another crack at the welterweight strap.
UFC 264 was the first time we’ve seen Gilbert Burns since his failed attempt to capture the title back in February. After a good start, Burns faded and he was ultimately stopped by Kamaru Usman in the third round of their title fight.
That was the first time that Burns had lost at 170 pounds. Prior to that, Burns looked like a buzzsaw in theÂ UFCâ€˜s welterweight division. Burns possesses great speed and power on the feet to go along with his world class jiu jitsu.
Since late 2019, Stephen Thompson has played the role of gatekeeper in the UFCâ€˜s welterweight division. First it was Vicente Luque and then he fought Geoff Neal in December.
Both of those guys looked to be the rising contenders, but Thompson dominated them both. TheÂ UFCâ€˜s â€œNMFâ€ was looking to beat Burns tonight to secure his third shot at the welterweight title.
UFC 264 Recap
The UFC 264 co-main event started with a touch of the gloves. Burns takes the center as Wonderboy starts with his wide stance from the outside. Low kick from Wonderboy starts the striking in the opening minute.
Burns tries a blitz, but nothing lands. Wonderboy presses back forward and Burns shoots in for a takedown. Burns gets deep on the attempt, but Wonderboy is defending well. Wonderboy using the fence and a wide base to keep the fight standing.
Good knee to the thigh for Gilbert Burns. Nothing much happening here as the crowd is becoming restless. Burns tries for another double, but Wonderboy keeps it up. However, Burns switches to a single and gets Wonderboy down to the ground.
Burns settles into halfguard as Wonderboy tries to work his way back to the fence. Wonderboy posts against the fence as he’s trying to get up, but Burns is holding strong. Great ground defense from Wonderboy who gets to a knee. Big shots from Gilbert Burns and Wonderboy is up against the fence.
Burns holds Wonderboy against the fence as the crowd starts booing again. They separate and Wonderboy seems to rock Burns at the buzzer. Overall not a ton here in the first round, but it’s 1-0 Burns at UFC 264.
Entering the second round at UFC 264 and both fighters look fresh. They touch to start the second and Wonderboy opens with a jab and leg kick. Burns tries for a headkick, but he’s way out of range.
Spinning kick from Wonderboy just misses. A blitz from Wonderboy and he follows it with a stiff jab. Nasty body kick lands for Wonderboy. Side kick from Wonderboy and Burns circles on the outside.
Another side kick from Wonderboy who’s opening up here in the second round. Burns tries to press forward, but he’s so out of range that nothing comes close to landing. Good body kick from Wonderboy lands.
Wonderboy presses forward with a headkick. Spinning headkick lands for Wonderboy and Burns immediately tries to get it back. Tons of pressure from Burns who lands a right hand. Wonderboy re-establishes the range and he lands a good leg kick. 1-2 lands for Wonderboy.
Burns tries for a takedown, but Wonderboy shrugs him off. Wonderboy lands off the break and Burns looks a little frustrated. Burns gets a takedown just at the end of the round and lands some good shots. Close round, but I lean Wonderboy which would make it 1-1 at UFC 264.
Heading into the final round at UFC 264 and I think the fight is even, but Burns could be up 2-0. They touch gloves to start the final round and Wonderboy takes the center. Burns is changing levels as he evades a headkick from Wonderboy.
Wonderboy steps forward with a 1-2 that just misses. Massive right hand lands for Wonderboy and Wonderboy lands a headkick. Wonderboy stalking Burns here in the third and it appears that he’s feeling the urgency.
Spinning back kick from Wonderboy drops Burns. Burns fires back and tries desperately to take Wonderboy down. Wonderboy gets backed up to the fence as the crowd erupts in boos. Wonderboy defending well here.
Burns is very heavy on the pressure and he slams Wonderboy to the ground. The crowd begins to boo as Burns just controls Wonderboy from side-control. Burns lands a few shots from the side, but nothing massive.
Wonderboy trying desperately to get to his feet, but nothing is happening. Burns is going to ride out this win and get back on track.
Gilbert Burns def. Stephen Thompson by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)