Former title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will welcome former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis to the welterweight division when the two stars collide in the main event of UFC Fight Night 148 on March 23, 2019 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wonderboy returns to action for the first time since a disputed decision loss to Darren Till last May. Thompson challenged Tyron Woodley twice for the welterweight title, forcing Woodley to a draw in the first bout and then losing by decision in the rematch.

Thompson is six feet tall and has  a 75-inch reach. Wonderboy is a striker who has a deep background in karate and kickboxing. He is an orthodox fighter but can switch to southpaw if necessary. Wonderboy was one of the hottest fighters after beating Johny Hendricks and Rory Macdonald in back to back fights. He’s just 1-2-1 ever since.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Thompson

-360

Pettis

+295

Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/07/19

Pettis is a former 155-pound champion who has campaigned at both lightweight and featherweight recently. Pettis called out Wonderboy as one of his bucketlist fights before calling it a career. The UFC granted him the fight but Pettis has to be careful of what he wished for.

The 31 year old Pettis has a record of 21-8 with nine knockouts and 8 submissions. Showtime is 5-10 with a reach of 72 ½ inches. Like Wonderboy, he is an elite striker who can switch hit and deliver knockout strikes. However, Pettis has a huge advantage on the ground, if this fight does go there.

“Fighting" Who Wins?

This one should be fireworks if Wonderboy doesn’t resort to point fighting. Thompson is a karate kid while Pettis has a deep taekwondo background. Both are extremely creative strikers and exciting to watch when in their element. The problem here is that Pettis is undersized and will be fighting at 170 for the first time since 2008.Wonderboy is a master of distance and given his three inch reach advantage, he’s going to use that to its fullest.

Pettis’ best chance here is if Wonderboy engages because if Thompson decides to point fight at a distance, it’s going to be a long and boring night. I remember when Ngannou was matched to fight Derrick Lewis. We were expecting a slugfest for the ages. Look what happened. But I think Wonderboy can’t be too cautious here if he wants a shot at the new champion. He needs an impressive win and to do that, he’s got to fight fire with fire.

After feeling each other out, I think both will try to engage in an all-out striking affair. While he is undersized, Pettis fights smart and once Wonderboy feels some trouble, he’s going to jab his way to victory.

Prediction: Stephen Thompson by decision

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“Fighting" Curtis Blaydes vs Justin Willis

Blaydes is coming off a devastating knockout loss to Francis Ngannou. Prior to that loss, “Razor” went unbeaten in six straight fights with five wins including three knockouts. The 28 year old Blaydes is 6-4 and has a reach of 80 inches. The Elevation Fight Team product has a record of 10-2-1 with 8 knockouts,

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Blaydes

-250

Willis

+210

Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/07/19

The 31-year old Willis is a newcomer who;s fought four times in the UFC, going 4-0 with one knockout in the promotion. Big Pretty is 6-1 and has a 79 inch reach while fighting out of the southpaw stance. Willis’ record is 8-1 with four wins by way of knockout.

This is an easy pick to make on paper. Blaydes is younger, bigger, has more UFC experience and has more punching power. Willis has gone the distance in three of four UFC bouts. But yeah, this is the heavyweight division and all it takes is a single punch. That said, I’ll take the heavier puncher in Blaydes.

Prediction: Curtis Blaydes by knockout

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“Fighting" John Makdessi vs Nasrat Haqparast

The 33-year old Makdessi is 16-6 with 9 wins via knockout. The Roufusport product is 5-8 tall with a reach of 68 inches and fights using the orthodox stance. Makdessi is coming off back to back decision victories over Abel Trujillo and Ross Pearson.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Makdessi

+235

Haqparast

-275

Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/07/19

Haqparast is a 23 year old southpaw who stands 5-10 and has a reach of 72 inches. The Tristar fighter from Germany has a record of 10-2 with 8 knockouts. Haqparast has fought thrice in the UFC and has gone the distance three times while accumulating a record of 2-1 in the promotion.

Makdessi is the more accomplished fighter here but he’s 1-4 outside Canada and giving up a huge disadvantage in size and reach to an opponent 10 years younger. The physical advantages are with Haqparast who was a knockout artist before coming to the UFC. This is the big league though and while I think the younger, bigger and more athletic fighter is going to win, it’s going to be a good bout.

Prediction: Nasrat Haqparast by decision

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“Fighting" Jussier Formiga vs Deiveson Figueiredo

Formiga is 22-5 with 2 knockouts and 10 submission victories. The native of Natal, Brazil is 33 years old and is listed at 5-5 tall with a reach of 67 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Formiga defeated Sergio Pettis on points in his most recent bout.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Formiga

+155

Figueiredo

-180

Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/07/19

Figueiredo is unbeaten in 15 bouts with 8 knockouts and 5 wins via submission. The 31-year old from Para, Brazil is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-5 and has a reach of 68 inches. In his last bout, Figueiredo knocked out John Moraga in two rounds.

I’m quite surprised to find Formiga as the underdog here because the guy is the #1 flyweight contender and was supposed to fight for the title before the UFC gave the slot to T.J. Dillashaw. Figueiredo has an impressive record but he’s not faced the kind of opposition that Formiga has in the UFC. This one could go either way but I’ll trust the veteran to get the job done here.

Prediction: Jussier Formiga by submission or decision

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“Fighting" Quick Picks

Here are couple of fights from the UFC Fight Night 148 event that may also be worth your time and money:

Match

Prediction
Luis Pena vs Steven PetersonLuis Pena by knockout
Maycee Barber vs JJ AldrichMaycee Barber by decision

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“Fighting" Upcoming UFC Fight Prediction

UFC on ESPN 2: Barboza vs Gaethje

UFC Fight Night: Till vs Masvidal

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