UFC 170 Play: Robert Whittaker (+110) vs Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (-120)

StephenThompson_HeadshotUFC 170 Date: February 22, 2014 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, NV Welterweight bout: Robert Whittaker (+110) vs Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (-120) Fight Breakdown: Kicking things off for the UFC 170 main card on Pay Per View will be welterweight contest between two very talented strikers from Karate backgrounds, when Australia’s Robert Whittaker takes on South Carolina’s Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Whittaker is a slight underdog heading into this bout at +110 ($100 to win $110), with Thompson being a slight favorite at -120 ($120 to win $100) Several Bookmakerss. ROBERT WHItTAKER (11-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is making his fourth UFC appearance; second since winning the TUF: Australia vs UK crown. He is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Court McGee nearly fix months ago, and is more than ready to get back in the win column. Whittaker is an absolute beast of a striker and is fun to watch. He fights with a bit of a flashy unorthodox Karate style that keeps opponents guessing. The down-side of said style is that he keeps his hands down, leaving him open to a possible knockout. He isn’t too worried about that because his striking defense is excellent and he has a very good chin, but as proven with the first Anderson Silva knockout by Chris Weidman: it’s always dangerous. The New Zealand native has good takedown defense, good submission defense, and can generally manage his own on the mat, although he does not offer much of a submission threat. He is a well-conditioned mixed martial artist who will be prepared for a 15 minute war with “Wonderboy”. STEPHEN “WONDERBOY” THOMPSON (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) will be making his fifth appearance inside the Octagon, coming off a second round TKO victory over the Canadian Chris Clements in Canada at UFC 165 nearly five months ago. The lone loss on his professional mixed martial arts resume came in his second Octagon appearance when he took on Matt “The Immortal” Brown. He was a two-and-a-half to one favorite over the veteran heading into the bout, and it appeared to be a fight he could have easily won, but unfortunately he gassed very early on, and ended up losing a decision. The South Carolina native is a very talented striker who, like Whittaker, comes from a Karate background. He likes to use his Karate stance, and was doing so when he knocked out Dan Stittgen with a headkick in his promotional debut. He is very good at setting up those types of big finishes, but it won’t be as easy against a fighter who is as smart and tough as Whittaker, even though he does not have the greatest striking defense. “Wonderboy” has developed solid grappling skills, and has become a decent offensive wrestler; however his defensive wrestling leaves something to be desired. That said, I don’t think Whittaker will be initiating takedowns, so I don’t expect it to be a concern for him going into this bout. Fight Prediction: Both of these welterweights train at TriStar in Montreal, but they don’t know each other and have not seen each other during their camps. Coach Firas Zahabi said that he has taken a step back from coaching either fighter for this match-up and will not be cornering either of them. “Wonderboy” will have a one inch height and four inch reach advantage over Whittaker in this bout, but I think Whittaker will overcome that, find his range, and get the job done. While he may not get the finish, I think Whittaker will land the more devastating blows and score more significant strikes en route to a victory on the judges’ scorecards. I think Whittaker is the fighter with the brighter future in the sport, thus I think he will win this match up. I feel like him as an underdog is a good bet to make in this spot. Gabe’s Pick: Robert Whittaker by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Robert Whittaker (+110) 3u to win 3.3u

Written by Gabe Killian

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