By Garrett Pelto
*CheapSeatPrediction for the main event only*
Date: Saturday, March 23
Prelims: 5:00 p.m. EST
Main card: 8:00 p.m. EST
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Cheap Seat Predictions currently stand at 40-out-of-56 (72%) correct fighters and 11-out-of-56 (20%) correct rounds and finishes.
Even though we didn’t technically write about it, I will still brag about correctly predicting UFC London.
This week, I didn’t have time to do my due diligence in research for the rest of the card, so I didn’t feel right writing a full article. So one prediction with two fighters that MMA fans know well.
Stephen Thompson vs Anthony Pettis (Welterweight):
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is 9-3-1 in the UFC since joining in 2012. Overall he is 14-3-1 in his professional career. Thompson is an undefeated amateur (37) and professional (58) kickboxer who is currently ranked as the third welterweight in the UFC.
His most notable wins have come against:
- Robert Whittaker via round one TKO (punches) in 2014
- Johny Hendricks via round one TKO (punches) in 2016
- Rory MacDonald via five-round unanimous decision in 2016
- Jorge Masvidal (who just beat Darren Till) via three-round unanimous decision in 2017
His more recent losses that have put in a weird limbo spot of the welterweight division:
- Darren Till via five round unanimous decision in 2018
- Tyron Woodley (the former Welterweight champion until two weekends ago) via majority decision in their 2017 rematch. Their initial 2016 fight was a majority draw.
The fights against Woodley really hurt his standings in the welterweight division. Woodley stood practically untouched after the fights. Some think they were boring. Quite the opposite case when Tyron faced Kamaru Usman and was dominated.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is 8-7 in the UFC and 21-8 overall in his professional career. After losing his UFC debut, he went on a five-fight win streak in which he earned the Lightweight Championship against Benson Henderson.
Since losing his belt, he has had a roller coaster career. Changing weight, accepting last-minute fights, still fighting competitors who missed weight, etc. It’s honestly hard to predict what Pettis will enter the octagon on a given night. But here is who he has beaten, which demands a certain level of respect:
- Donald Cerrone via round one KO (kick to the body) in 2013
- Benson Henderson via round one armbar (and ran up the damn cage) in 2013
- Charles Oliveira via round three guillotine choke in 2016
- Jim Miller via three-round unanimous decision in 2017
- Michael Chiesa via round two triangle armbar in 2018
You can never truly count out this athletic and creative finisher. For most MMA fans that know his story, you can’t help but to root for his success. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen too much success lately, losing six of his last ten. All of them recognizable names.
- Rafael dos Anjos via five-round decision in 2015
- Eddie Alvarez via three-round split decision in 2015
- Edson Barboza via three-round unanimous decision in 2016
- Max Holloway via round three TKO (kicks and punches to the body) 2016
- Dustin Poirier via round three body triangle in 2017
- Tony Ferguson via round two TKO (corner stoppage)
For Pettis to win, he needs to be able to make this fight dirty. He’s moving up in weight and fighting someone who can keep distance and win in decision. With that being said…
Thompson needs to be aggressive than he’s ever been. Pettis isn’t someone who is going to lay back and Thompson has to prove he isn’t a sit-and-calculate fighter then doesn’t get the dub at the end of the day like he’s done against Woodley and Till.
While some think that Thompson will knock Pettis out, I believe Pettis can take all the hits that Thompson gives, with the exception being something super unpredictable like a wild spinning kick. Expect Pettis to try and do just that… some crazy shit to surprise Thompson. Perhaps a cartwheel into a backflip into a body kick.
I think Thompson wins convincingly. Maybe even in five rounds. Hopefully for viewing-sake we see Pettis catch “Wonderboy” a few times. Maybe a crazy submission?
Thompson def. Pettis via four round TKO
Happy viewing and hopefully winning you filthy gamblers. 😉