Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Geoff Neal will both be competing for the first time this year according to an ESPN report that pits the two against each other on December 19. Stephen Thompson was recently in consideration to be Khamzat Chimaev’s next opponent, but that role will now be occupied by Leon Edwards after Thompson turned the fight down. Geoff Neal came much closer to competing this year, as he was booked to fight Neil Magny in August. Unfortunately, Neal’s health issues forced him out of the fight. Fingers crossed, he will arrive healthy and ready to compete against one of the top welterweights in the world in his toughest test to date next month.
Both Thompson and Neal are coming off wins in their most recent performance. For Thompson, he outpointed Vicente Luque for a unanimous decision victory at UFC 244 to snap what was a two-fight losing streak. Stephen Thompson is currently the 5th ranked welterweight in the promotion, so a victory for Neal would likely result in a major leap from outside the top 10 to inside the top 5. In Neal’s most recent bout, he defeated Mike Perry via 1st round TKO to earn his 7th consecutive victory and remain unbeaten in the UFC.
With the addition of this welterweight bout, the current UFC on ESPN+ 44 card currently consists of the following bouts:
Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal
Marlon Moraes vs. Rob Font
Jamie Pickett vs. Tafon Nchukwi
Matt Schnell vs. Tyson Nam
Rick Glenn vs. Carlton Minus
Deron Winn vs. Antonio Braga Neto
Who do you predict will win this major welterweight bout between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal?