Stephen Thompson – Geoff Neal promoted to UFC Vegas 17 Main Event

Daniel Cunningham
Oct 31, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Mixed martial artist Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson attends the New York Knicks game against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Today we heard some pretty terrible news regarding the highly anticipated UFC Vegas 17 card. The original headliner between Leon Edwards (18-3) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) was called off. Edwards tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite the fight still being a few weeks away, Edwards would not be able to compete. Sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Edwards was so sick that he lost 12 pounds and had to stop training for the UFC Vegas 17 main event.

Just a crushing blow for a fighter who’s already been through a lot in 2020. The current plan for the UFC is to move the fight back to some point in early 2021. A landing spot could be UFC 257 on Fight Island although nothing is close in terms of rescheduling.

With that in mind, the current plan is for the UFC to promote Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1) and Geoff Neal (13-2) to the main event slot. The highly anticipated welterweight matchup will still be a very high quality main event.

UFC Vegas 17’s New Headliner

Despite the depressing news about the Edwards – Chimaev fight falling through, there is still plenty of reason to be excited about UFC Vegas 17. The main thing is that the card is absolutely stacked and the new main event is a good one.

Wonderboy will be making the walk for the first time since he dominated Vicente Luque last November. Thompson is looking to get back to another UFC title shot and if he’s able to win on December 19th he will be one step closer.

Wonderboy will enter the cage currently ranked fifth in the welterweight division. Standing across from him is one of the brightest prospects in the entire UFC. Geoff Neal is a nightmare who lives up to his nickname, “Handz of Steel.”

Neal first came onto the scene on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017. Since then he’s fought five times in the UFC and he’s unbeaten. He’s finished four of those fights including wins over Mike Perry, Niko Price, and Belal Muhammad.

This is a big step up in competition for Neal, but if he’s able to win, he’s not far from a UFC title shot. I’ve been excited to see Neal get back into the cage and this is the perfect opponent. December 19th should still be an insane night for fight fans.