Top welterweights will return to action as Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal are expected to meet at the UFC event on December 19.
Per Brett Okamoto of ESPN, two of the top welterweights in the world are targeting a collision as Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Geoff Neal are expected to compete on December 19. Both men are coming off important victories and the winner is expected to take a big step towards title contention.
Stephen Thompson (15-4-1) is looking to continue his resurgence after being on the bad end of a Knockout of the Year candidate against Anthony Pettis in 2019. The loss was a disheartening one that brought him to 1-2 following two attempts to wrest the title from then-champion Tyron Woodley. Last November, Thompson had a triumphant return to the win-column with a victory over Vicente Luque that reinvigorated his title aspirations. On the back of his star-power and surveying the landscape at 170 pounds, an impressive performance for “Wonderboy” could propel him to the short list of title contenders.
A Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Geoff Neal has proven to be one of the top acquisitions to come from the program after reeling off five straight victories following his signing by the UFC. “Handz of Steel” has lived up to his moniker, with stoppages over fellow finishers Frank Camacho, Niko Price, and Mike Perry. The fight with Thompson is his biggest fight to date and another victory, particularly a stoppage, would likely set him up against the upper-echelon of the division.
The December 19 event is currently expected to be headlined by top-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards against rising phenom Khamzat Chimaev. Notably, both Thompson and Neal were connected to possible bouts with Edwards prior to the bout with Chimaev being made. Another factor to consider is that the UK has also begun another lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is possible that the fight between Thompson and Neal could be promoted to the main event or that one of them could be asked to step in for Edwards (a UK resident) against Chimaev.