This Saturday, Stephen Thompson finds himself at a match up with an former UFC champion, but it probably wasn’t usually the main one he had been expecting.

After a couple of awards to get the welterweight championship a couple of decades before, “Wonderboy” has kept busy while also lobbying for bouts with past title holders Robbie Lawler along with Rafael dos Anjos. Neither booking stinks, which made Thompson’s standing at the positions murky. Today Thompson has surprisingly been paired up with former lightweight king Anthony Pettis for the main event of UFC Nashville also it’s unsure what a triumph here will do for Thompson’s name expects.

Pettis has never fought at welterweight at the UFC along with his past seven fights have seen him alternative between losses and wins competing in the 145- along with 155-pound divisions. This appears to be quite a high-reward, low-risk prospect for Pettis, who would become a sudden competition at 170 pounds with a remarkable performance against Thompson.

The co-headliner contains two heavy weights searching for a measure of admiration. Curtis Blaydes is coming off of a momentum-killing 45-second loss to Francis Ngannou, whilst Justin Willis is looking to last a four-fight win streak that’s flown under the radar of most fans.

In other Principal card action, John Makdessi and Jesus Pinedo match at a battle of strikers, flyweight contenders Jussier Formiga along with Deiveson Figueiredo collide, Luis Pena a.k.a. “Violent Bob Ross” struggles Steven Peterson at a 148.5-pound Catch-weight bout, also Maycee Barber along with J-J Aldrich face off into their flyweight debuts.

What: UFC Nashville

Where: Bridgestone Arena at Nashville, Tennessee

After: Saturday, March 2-3. The six-fight ESPN+ preliminary card begins at 5 p.m. ET, and the event continues on ESPN+ with a six-fight main card beginning in 8 p.m. ET.


Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis

This is actually a entertaining match up if you don’t over-think the bets. Stephen Thompson, one of many UFC’s greatest technicians on earth, taking on Anthony Pettis, certainly one of the most creative all-around fighters. As proud as Pettis is of his jiujitsu , he’s a fan of throwing strikes that are unorthodox and Thompson needs to be skeptical of Pettis taking any risks.

Whether any one of the attacks will property on the evasive “Wonderboy” is just another matter altogether. He’s a master in establishing scope and at a bout where he’s ’so likely to own the dimensions and reach advantage, it’ll be much better for him to keep Pettis from increasing and possess him catching air with anything he cries at Thompson. Just patient, Thompson is going to be pleased to pick off at Pettis with kisses into your leg and body , wearing Pettis down at the opening rounds.

To get Pettis, they could boost his chances of landing something spectacular by using all kinds of unorthodox movements. Even the best defensive fighters could be thrown off their rhythm using a clever usage of feints and controlled aggression. The danger of a takedown may even function Pettis well as he’s more of a submission threat on a lawn.

But it’s at the place at which Thompson’s size advantage is much more pronounced. Against the utter strength of tyronwoodley , Thompson had troubles maintaining the prior champion off of him. But his takedown defense is constantly improving and then he ’ll do well to refrain from scrambling with the tricky Pettis.

Should he do so, as I hope, Thompson will flee to a decision victory or perhaps even find a finish at the next rounds.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis

In regards to Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes simply got caught in his final excursion. Of course, when he doesn’t honor Justin Willis’s finishing skill, he can get caught again.

Blaydes will wish to shoot in early and frequently against Willis, a developing striker with pop into his left hand. All it takes is 1 mistake for Willis to clip Blaydes and finish like Ngannou did. So Blaydes needs to present himself like a threat standing up, even when he doesn’t plan to stay there.

Because on the mat is Blaydes can make his dollars. He has an outstanding wrestling pedigree, and the technique and muscle required to join the burly Willis and plant him onto his spine. Ground-and-pound will soften up Willis and drain off his gas tank, giving Blaydes hands of the act since the fight progresses.

But Blaydes cannot trade with Willis, even when he’s any striking success early. Willis will gladly invite Blaydes to slug it out with him and should that occur, Blaydes is actually departing the results of this fight to fate. Let’so hope for his sake that he’s smart enough not to accomplish that.

Pick: Blaydes

John Makdessi’s cardio better be on point, because he’ll have to chase Jesus Pinedo to get 15 minutes. One may describe Pinedo’s moves as “jittery”, and I mean that in the most complimentary manner.

It will be fascinating to look at Makdessi attempt to figure out Pinedo, a 22-year-old potential from Peru who switches stances and goes from defense to crime at the drop of a hat. Makdessi reaches a significant reach disadvantage, so he’ll must be in his most tactical to draw Pinedo to a range where he’so comfortable. When he finds his rhythm, Makdessi can be described as a daring kickboxer within their right, also he has an arsenal of turning strikes with which to punish Pinedo.

I’m leaning towards the adventure and precision of Makdessi here, though young fighters like Pinedo are always tough to rely on. Makdessi by decision.

Jussier Formiga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

This looks like a troubling match up to get Jussier Formiga, who has had problems with competitions that can don’t be commanded by his grappling and outwork him on the feet. Deiveson Figueiredo fits this mold.

Figueiredo’s jiujitsu may not be on the level of Formiga, but he’s an aggressive ground fighter in their own right and can do damage by inside Formiga’s guard when he decides to mixin some takedowns. After dramatic, ” he likes to throw single-shots as opposed to combinations, but given that Formiga’so output signal is typically low, which shouldn’t be a issue. Figueiredo will have the time to measure Formiga before establishing the right rights and hooks that he’so fond of.

Formiga has a chance in just about any struggle if they will get his rival into the ground, so Figueiredo might have to be cautious than usual in order to keep away from becoming the next victim to become choked out by the flyweight seasoned. Still, this really is Figueiredo’s no chance to make a serious announcement and I presume he earns a hit success on Saturday.

It’SA pity that Luis Pena defectively missed weight Friday, as this would have really been a great chance for him to reveal what they could do in a fresh branch. On the other hand, believing “Violent Bob Ross” stands in 6-foot-3 and towered over his competitors at lightweight, it’s not surprising that he had trouble making the cut.

Regardless, that magnitude will be a boon in his match up with Steven Peterson. Pena’s long limbs cause him a significant threat on the ground even though Peterson isn’theres even a fish from water down there, it’s definitely going to take plenty of benefit him to navigate the rangy Pena down out there. Peterson is well-rounded, but also untested in the grappling section since joining the UFC.

Everything Peterson cando is brawl. He’so amazing at it. Pena, however, has looked reluctant to pull the trigger onto the feet and if his brow has been diminished in any respect by way of a bad weight cut, he could be seeing celebrities if Peterson figure out how to back him up and attack with a flurry. It was seen whether Pena can make his jab a valid weapon if he becomes the Stefan Struve of the lighter weight divisions.

In case he excels on his grappling, Pena will be able to become the first fighter to publish Peterson.

Pick: Pena

Maycee Barber vs. JJ Aldrich

The unassuming J-J Aldrich is developing a reputation as a scrappy underdog. Can she keep that up against ultra confident 20-year-old Maycee Barber?

Barber’s standup is still a work in progress also Aldrich has looked more assertive in this area with every appearance. She pieced up submission specialist Polyana Viana in her final outing of course, if Barber isn’damn attentive, she could detect her hype train getting derailed fast.

Having said that , the aggression Barber revealed in her UFC debut along with her dogged determination when it comes to attacking with ground-and-pound are what make her such an intriguing talent. Even when the dramatic isn’t moving her way, she has the stamina to maintain attempting take downs even into the latter stages of their competition.

This is one of the more difficult main card struggles to pick. Barber has looked amazing so far, but Aldrich can be a valid stepup from her prior opponents and might represent the first speed bump of Barber’s nascent career.

Pick: Aldrich

Bobby Moffett def.

Marlon Vera def.

Alexis Davis def. Jennifer Maia

Angela Hill def. Randa Markos

Chris Gutierrez def. Ryan MacDonald

Eric Shelton def. Jordan Espinosa

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