UFC Vegas 45 Preview: Stephen Thompson – Belal Muhammad

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

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 45 is a showdown between top welterweight contenders. Former title challenger Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (16-5-1) returns to take on Belal Muhammad (19-3, 1 NC).

The last time we saw Wonderboy was back at UFC 264. That night, he lost a decision to Gilbert Burns. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak. Had he won that night, he would’ve likely earned a UFC title shot.

However, Burns was able to best him which has caused him to reset. Wonderboy is still near the very top of the welterweight division but he needs to string together another set of wins before setting his eyes on the title.

The first of those wins could come at UFC Vegas 45. However, he has a tough test in Belal Muhammad. Muhammad hasn’t suffered a true loss in the UFC since his decision loss to Geoff Neal back in 2019.

He’s gone 5-0, 1 NC in his last six fights. The last time we saw Muhammad was against Demian Maia back at UFC 263. It was a lackluster fight but Muhammad got the decision win. He’s looking for his biggest UFC win tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 45 Prediction

A lot of this fight is going to come down to the takedowns. I don’t think anyone believes that Belal Muhammad can win a striking fight with Wonderboy at UFC Vegas 45. If he’s distance striking with Wonderboy, he will lose all three rounds.

Muhammad needs to fight with a lot of pressure and he needs to try and force clinches. Gilbert Burns was able to get Wonderboy down and neutralize him. That game plan will be one that Muhammad needs to follow.

I expect Muhammad to try and make this fight dirty tomorrow night. Expect him to try and force a lot of clinches and shoot for takedowns. However, I don’t think he’s going to be successful enough to get the W.

In the end, I see UFC Vegas 45 being Wonderboy’s night. I just think he’ll be too slick on the feet and I think he’ll score enough points to offset whatever offense Muhammad has.

Prediction: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson by Unanimous Decision