UFC Vegas 45 goes down this weekend at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. In the co-main event, former two-time welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson looks to return to winning ways against a tough opponent in Belal Muhammad.
Thompson is coming off a unanimous decision loss at the hands of Gilbert Burns at UFC 264, whereas Muhammad beat Demian Maia in his most recent fight at UFC 263.
Analysis And Prediction
Thompson is one of the best strikers in the UFC, and a very tough puzzle to solve. He has excellent distance and range control thanks to his wide sideways stance, which allows him to bounce back and forth and cut angles to land shots on his opponents without getting hit much. Muhammad is extremely well-rounded, but he will find it hard to keep up with Thompson as long as the fight stays on the feet. Muhammad adopts a more square stance in comparison, which will allow Thompson to land his shots, especially kicks, through the middle.
Muhammad will have the edge in the grappling department. He is a very good wrestler, who should be looking to take the fight to the mat as soon as it begins. It’s tough to say whether he will be able to execute it in a similar manner, but he should adopt a strategy similar to what Burns used against Thompson. The karateka has a solid takedown defence, however, so it will be interesting to see how Muhammad executes his takedowns.
Statistically, both fighters are quite even. Thompson lands four significant strikes per minute on average, whereas Muhammad lands a little over four-and-a-half. Thompson is better defensively as he absorbs less than three significant strikes per minute on average, whereas Muhammad absorbs close to four. ‘Remember The Name’ is more active in the grappling department, as he scores nearly two takedowns per fight, whereas Thompson doesn’t use grappling very much.
Thompson has the edge on paper, but Muhammad can easily turn the tables on him with his wrestling. All in all, Thompson will impose his will and churn out a decision victory at UFC Vegas 45.
Prediction: Stephen Thompson by decision
Stephen Thompson (-240)
Belal Muhammad (+180)
Who do you think will win the UFC Vegas co-main event between Stephen Thompson and Belal Muhammad?