IT’S TIME! The UFC Vegas 17 main event between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal is about to begin…
Round 1: Stephen Thompson is throwing big kicks early but missing. He goes low with his next few and manages to land. Another upstairs is well blocked by Geoff Neal. ‘Wonderboy’ touches the body then gets on his bike to get away from Neal who is constantly pushing forward. Thompson finds himself up against the cage and Neal lets his hands go for the first time. Thompson is using the threat of his strikes to create distance and avoid spending to much time against the fence. Thompson is tapping his man at every opportunity. Neal is chasing forward trying to land a knockout blow but is unable to catch ‘Wonderboy’. Thompson tires a spinning back kick but slips. The two fighters come together and clash heads. Thompson is cut above the eye and referee Marc Goddard temporarily stops the fight. Neal is also cut from the accidental headbutt. The fight recommences and after a few short moments the horn sounds to end round one.
Round 2: Lot’s of feints from Neal at the start of round two. Eventually he rushes in and pushes ‘Wonderboy’ up against the fence. Neal lands a few short shots before Thompson reverses the position. ‘Wonderboy’ lands a straight down the pipe and follows up with a hard body kick. Thompson is really starting to pick up the pace. Three consecutive shots land and Neal is unable to fire back. ‘Wonderboy’ is constantly going upstairs with his kicks. Neal is doing well to block them all but it’s all defence from him at this point. Neal charges in with a crude combo but doesn’t land. Thompson continues to pepper Neal with shots and use his great movement to avoid taking any damage. Neal is undeterred and manages to land one his bigger punches of the fight at the end of round two.
Round 3: More of the same at the start of round three. ‘Wonderboy’ with lots of volume and movement. Nothing big is landing but all these shots are adding up. Neal lands a overhand before pushing Thompson up against the fence. It’s a stalemate in this position. Lot’s of and fighting and short shots before they eventually separate. ‘Wonderboy’ goes back to work with lots of volume from the outside. Neal continues to barge forward and is starting to find more success with his strikes as the fight goes on. Neal pushes the fight to the fence once again. Neal’s mouth-guard pops out. Thompson lives up to his NMF tag by letting his opponent drop down and grab it. ‘Wonderboy’ isn’t nice once the action gets back underway. He’s starting to land with power. Neal lands something nice of it own but Thompson really ended that round really well.
Round 4: Not much changes at the start of round four. ‘Wonderboy’ continues to score with the volume and avoid taking damage with his movement. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down but Neal remains dangerous in these championship rounds. Neal closes distance again and presses to the fence. He spins and misses on the exit. ‘Wonderboy’ lands a nice right hand that appeared to hurt Neal. He steps in with a nice elbow and a jumping knee. It’s all really beautiful stuff from Thompson in round four. ‘Wonderboy’ slips over and Neal returns the favour by letting him stand back up. Thompson appears to hurt Neal with a strike but doesn’t follow up. Perhaps an eye poke? Neal presses the fight to the fence again. He is once again unable to make use of the position. The round ends with both men jockeying for position.
Round 5: ‘Wonderboy’ appears to have an injured right foot and pointed it out to his corner between rounds. He appears fine hopping around on it at the start of round five. Both men let it all hang out for a rare moment of craziness in what has otherwise been a hugely technical fight. Thompson is back on his bike after getting a stern warning from his corner. ‘Wonderboy’ is picking his shots nicely once again but it’s not long before Neal it threatening with big shots. He’s hunting for the KO in this final round. The problem is Thompson is able to land four or five shots before Neal can even throw one. Neal pushes the fight to the fence. Thompson is working hard to escape the position which Neal is doing well to hold. Eventually, they separate and return to the striking range with one minute left on the clock. ‘Wonderboy’ lets his hands fly. Neal lands a spinning elbow. Soon after he lands two really nice shots. Thompson is dabbing his eye which is flowing with blood now. They let it all hang out until the final bell sounds.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Stephen Thompson def. Geoff Neal via unanimous decision