Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 291, we are going to see a battle between ranked welterweight contenders. Former title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (17-6-1) is back as he takes on the always entertaining and wild Michel Pereira (28-11).
Last time we saw Wonderboy was back in December when he had a main event against Kevin Holland. Prior to that Holland fight, Wonderboy had back-to-back losses against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad where they largely just held him down. However, Holland made an agreement to stand and trade with him.
Wonderboy lit up Holland in the fourth round and after Holland broke his hand, the fight was stopped after the fourth round giving Wonderboy the TKO win. That fight showed just how dangerous Wonderboy can be if a fight is left on it’s feet.
Michel Pereira made his UFC debut in 2019 and has been extremely successful. He’s 6-2 with one of those losses being a DQ loss to Diego Sanchez in which he completely dominated the fight but accidentally threw an illegal knee. Since that DQ loss, he’s won five in a row. Most recently was in May of 2022 against Santiago Ponzinibbio.
UFC 291 Prediction
Michel Pereira can be wild and can be ultra aggressive. That aggression could play to his advantage if he’s smart. Wonderboy Thompson needs a little range to be at his best. His karate style plays well from distance, but if you crash the distance, he has some trouble getting his best shots off.
If I’m in the corner of Michel Pereira, I’m telling to keep this fight in a phone booth and try to clinch. Do not stand at range with Wonderboy because there is a very large technique gap and I think Pereira would be picked apart. Honestly, I see Pereira having some success early on just being physical and aggressive.
However, I think you’ll see Wonderboy take over as the fight goes on at UFC 291. I think you’ll see Pereira start to get tired in the second round and Wonderboy will be able to keep his distance. From there, expect a striking show from Stephen Thompson. I’m going to go out on a limb and pick a finish in this one. Give me Wonderboy by TKO in the third.
Prediction: Stephen Thompson by TKO – Round 3