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Stephen Thompson vs Geoff Neal – Welterweight Division
Stephen Thompson (-112)
Jose Aldo vs Marlon Vera – Bantamweight Division
Jose Aldo (-150)
Michel Pereira vs Khaos Williams – Welterweight Division
Khaos Williams (+124)
Marlon Moraes vs Rob Font – Bantamweight Division
Marlon Moraes (-148)
Gillian Robertson vs Taila Santos – Women’s Flyweight Division
Gillian Robertson (-112)
Marcin Tybura vs Greg Hardy – Heavyweight Division
Marcin Tybura (-106)
|Thompson vs Neal Information|
|What||UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Neal|
|Where||UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|When||Saturday, December 19, 5 PM EST|
|How to watch||UFC Fight Pass, PPV, Watch on ESPN+ here!|
A seven-fight winning streak that included wins over the likes of Robert Whittaker, Johnny Hendricks, and Rory MacDonald is what secured Stephen Thompson his first UFC title shot against Tyron Woodley in 2016. The two would fight to a draw and have an immediate rematch. Thompson would lose by decision. Since then, Stephen Thompson’s UFC career has been a mixed bag. He followed the loss to Woodley with a big win over Jorge Masvidal but would drop his next two in a row to Darren Till and Anthony Pettis, who knocked Thompson out despite moving up from the lightweight division.
Luckily, Thompson comes into the fight Saturday night following a big win over Vicente Luque, whom he defeated via unanimous decision last November at UFC 244. It was named the fight of the night.
An American-born karate specialist, the 37-year-old Thompson stands at an even 6 ft. and has a reach of 75 inches. He currently trains out of South Carolina with Pitch Black MMA under his father Ray Thompson and coach Carlos Machado. He has also worked with the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Thompson holds an astounding fifth-degree black belt in karate as well as black belts in jujutsu and American kickboxing. He also has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Thompson has fought professionally since 2010 and currently sees himself ranked as the fifth-best welterweight in the division. He also holds an undefeated 58-0 kickboxing record.
Geoff Neal first got noticed on the Dana White Contender Series and has made himself known since debuting for the promotion. Neal now has five UFC fights under his belt and he’s won them all, with only one of those fights going the distance.
Neal most recently took on wildcard Mike Perry at UFC 245 one year ago. He would TKO Perry in the very first round with a head kick followed by punches. He has yet to fight this year due to undisclosed health issues. He was set to take on Neil Magny this past August but was forced to withdraw from the contest.
Neal will come into this contest standing one-inch shorter than Thompson but will have an equal reach of 75 inches. Fighting since 2012, Neal is seven-years younger than his opponent. Training out of Texas, this southpaw fighter works with the Fortis MMA team under his coach Sayif Saud. He holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is currently ranked by the UFC as the 11th-best welterweight in the division.
It is tough to say which version of Jose Aldo will show up Saturday night as ‘The King of Rio’ has gone just 3-5 since losing his featherweight title in 2015. He soon after suffered back-to-back losses to Max Holloway before earning back-to-back wins (and performance bonuses) against Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. However, Aldo currently finds himself amidst a three-fight losing streak that has also seen him drop down to the bantamweight division.
He most recently fought for the vacant bantamweight title despite coming off of a loss. The title fight took place this past July at UFC 251 against Petr Yan. Aldo would suffer a fifth-round TKO loss to Yan.
The Brazilian fighter, now 34-years-old, stands at 5 ft. 7 in. tall and has a reach of 70 inches. Fighting professionally since 2004, he has spread his career out across three weight classes and has held several titles, including being named the first UFC featherweight champion in history. He holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Andre Pederneiras and a black belt in luta livre under Marco Ruas. He trains with the Nova Uniao team and is currently ranked as the seventh-best bantamweight in the division. He is also considered to be the greatest featherweight champion of all time by many.
A UFC roster member since 2014, Marlon Vera has more recently been making a name for himself within the bantamweight rankings. Vera rode a five-fight winning streak into his May 2020 bout against Song Yadong. However, Vera had stepped up to featherweight for the bout and ultimately lost a unanimous decision.
But “Chito” bounced back in a big way in his most recent fight that took place this past August at UFC 252. Vera took on the undefeated rising superstar Sean O’Malley and would TKO him in the very first round handing him his first professional loss.
Born in Ecuador, Vera is six-years younger than Aldo. He will stand one-inch taller than his opponent Saturday night and will have a half-inch reach advantage. Vera trains out of California with Team Oyama and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. At the time of writing, Vera rounds out the top-15 bantamweight in the UFC rankings at number-15.
There is no doubt that Michel Pereira is one of the flashiest, most entertaining fighters to watch on the UFc roster, but his record in the promotion is far from perfect. Joining the UFC last spring, Pereira is just 2-2 with the promotion. He won his debut via wild KO but lost his next two bouts to Tristan Connelly (decision) and Diego Sanchez (DQ). His most recent fight came back in September against Zelim Imadaev. Pereira was able to snap his two-fight losing skid with a third-round submission victory.
Born in Brazil, the 27-year-old stands at 6 ft. 1 in. tall and has a reach of 73 inches. Fighting since 2011, Pereira trains with Team Demolidor as well as the Overcome Academy. The former SBC welterweight champion holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Savio Roveno as well as a black belt in karate under Rene Colares. He is currently unranked within the UFC welterweight division.
Khaos Willams made his UFC debut back in February and went on to be 2-0 with the promotion and currently finds himself on an eight-fight winning streak overall. He debuted in a dramatic fashion when he knocked out Alex Morono in just 27 seconds. His most recent fight, against Abdul Razak Alhassan, took just three seconds longer, as he knocked out his opponent in 30 seconds just one month ago.
One-year younger than Pereira, Williams will stand one-inch shorter than his opponent but will have a four-inch reach advantage in the striking department. The American-born Williams trains out of Detroit with the Murcielago MMA team.
After a four-fight winning streak that saw him collect wins over the likes of Aljamain Sterling and Raphael Assuncao, Marlon Moraes was granted a title shot against the then bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo. Moraes would lose the bout and has since struggled to recover from what was only his second UFC loss at the time.
Moraes went on to fight Jose Aldo and although he won the bout via split-decision, many fans and pundits alike judged the fight in favor of Aldo – who went on to receive the next crack at the title. Moraes most recently took on Cory Sandhagen this past October. He would lose in spectacular fashion to Sandhagen via a second-round TKO.
The Brazilian native stands at 5 ft. 6 in. tall and possesses a reach of 67 inches. He currently trains out of New Jersey with American Top Team and is also a student of Ricardo Almeida, whom he holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under. He also holds a black belt in muay thai. Fighting professionally since 2007, the former WSOF bantamweight champion is currently ranked as the third-best bantamweight in the UFC promotion.
Unlike his opponent Moraes, who is making a quick turnaround since his last bout, Rob Font hasn’t fought since December 2019. The fight, which was against Ricky Simon and deemed the fight of the night, was won by Font via unanimous decision. It was his second decision win in a row as he had defeated Sergio Pettis one year prior in December 2018. Yes, this will be Fon’t s third fight in as many years.
The American fighters will stand two-inches taller than Moraes in their match-up and he will have a 4.5-inch reach advantage. The 33-year-old trains with both Team Sityodtong and Lauzon MMA. Fighting since 2011, Font holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well as a white mongkol in muay thai. He is also a former CES MMA featherweight champion. He has spent his career across three different weight classes and currently ranks as the 11th-best bantamweight in the UFC.
Gillian Robertson is currently riding a two-fight winning streak and is, overall, 4-1 across her last five fights. Her last loss came via a TKO courtesy of Maycee Barber at the end of 2019. Her 2020 has thus far been perfect, however, as she has defeated Cortney Casey via third-round submission and, most recently, beat Poliana Botelho via unanimous decision this past October.
The 25-year-old Canadian fighter stands at 5 ft. 5 in. tall and has a reach of 63 inches. She trains in Florida with the American Top Team gym under coaches Daniel Donaldson and Din Thomas, the latter of which she holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under. Fighting professionally since 2016, Robertson has fought across three different weight classes and is currently ranked as the 13th-best women’s flyweight on the UFC roster.
Taila Santos was an undefeated fighter when she made her way onto the Contender Series. On the show, she was able to defeat Estefani Almeida via unanimous decision-earning her a UFC contract. However, she would debut for the promotion against Mara Borella and lose, albeit by a very close split-decision. She did bounce back in her last fight, which took place this past July, where she beat Molly McCann by unanimous decision.
The 27-year-old Brazilian stands one-inch taller than Robertson and comes into the bout with a five-inch advantage in the reach department. She currently trains out of her home country with the Astra Fight Team.
These two women enter the cage with equal -112 pick ‘em odds.
After a rough patch that saw Marcin Tybura go just 1-4 from 2017 to 2019, Tybura now finds himself riding a three-fight winning streak – all of which have taken place in 2020. Yes, this will be Tybura’s fourth heavyweight bout this year. Tybura’s winning streak has seen him win three unanimous decisions in a row, with the most recent win coming against heavyweight mainstay Ben Rothwell just two months ago on Fight Island.
The 35-year-old Polish fighter stands at 6 ft. 3 in. tall and has a reach of 78 inches. A former student of the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy, Tybura now trains with Syndicate MMA. He has been fighting professionally since 2011 and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Unranked in the UFC heavyweight rankings, Tybura is a former M-1 Global heavyweight champion and the M-1 Global Heavyweight Grand Prix winner of 2013.
After early controversies in his MMA career, Greg Hardy now finds himself on a two-fight winning streak. After losing to Alexander Volkov as a short-notice replacement, Hardy bounced back by earning a unanimous decision victory over Yorgan de Castro. He made a five-month turnaround to take on Maurice Greene this past October. He defeated Greene via second-round TKO.
Hardy will come into his bout Saturday night with several physical advantages, including a two-inch height advantage as well as a two-inch reach advantage over Tybura. Training out of American Top Team in Florida, Hardy works closely with coaches Din Thomas and Rashad Evans. He has only been fighting professionally since 2017.
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