Stephen Thompson expects grappling spree from Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 296: ‘I think eventually he’s gonna shoot’

Stephen Thompson expects Shavkat Rakhmonov to grapple at UFC 296 he's gonna shoot eventually

Former two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson reveals he expects incoming opponent, Shavkat Rakhmonov to eventually show off his grappling chops in their upcoming UFC 296 clash later this month, claiming he doesn’t believe the Uzbekistan native will solely strike with him.

Thompson, a former two-time undisputed welterweight title challenger and current number six ranked contender, has been sidelined since he featured in the main event of UFC Fight Night Orlando back in December of last year, landing a fourth round corner’s stoppage TKO win over Kevin Holland in the pair’s Fight of the Night showing.

Himself sidelined since March of this year, number five ranked welterweight contender, Rakhmonov managed to land his seventeenth consecutive professional win and finish, stopping common-foe, Geoff Neal at UFC 285 in a third round standing rear-naked choke submission win.

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Stephen Thompson expects Shavkat Rakhmonov to wrestle at UFC 296

And taking on Rakhmonov in a potential title-eliminator at UFC 296 later this month, Thompson, a decorated kickboxer, claimed he doesn’t expect the bout to stay exclusively on the feet, claiming the former will likely attempt to utilize his grappling.

“Do I feel like Shavkat (Rakhmonov) is going to stand there bang with me? I don’t think so,” Stephen Thompson told Submission Radio. “I think eventually he’s going to shoot. He’s going to shoot in and try to get the fight to the gorund, obviously. But he’s still a type of guy to try to finish. And I would rather go out on my shield than just somebody hold me there. You know what I mean?”

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“One of the worst feelings that I have, is after a fight, walking through the airport and not having a bump or a bruise or an ache to show the battle that I had the night before,” Stephen Thompson explained. “And when I fought those two fights, with Belal (Muhammad) and Gilbert (Burns), I was literally walking through to the airport [with nothing]. The best feeling is walking though the airport the next day, can barely move, man. People are looking at you like, what did this guy go through last night.” 

Who wins at UFC 296 later this month: Stephen Thompson or Shavkat Rakhmonov?