Thursday, February 25, 2021

Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal New Headliner for Dec. 19 Fight Night

Following the cancellation of the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards main event, the new headliner for the December 19 Fight Night will now be Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal.

For the second time this year, Leon Edwards will be unable to compete in a main event of which he was booked. Earlier today, his main event bout against Khamzat Chimaev was canceled after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier this year, Edwards was unable to fight Tyron Woodley due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in Gilbert Burns stepping in and solidifying himself as the #1 contender. This potentially would have been Edwards had he been provided the opportunity to face Woodley instead. Now, the Edwards/Chimaev bout will be rescheduled, which left an open space for the Dec. 19 main event. This void will reportedly be filled by Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal.

This will be the first time Geoff Neal has competed in a UFC main event. Additionally, Neal has never competed past the third round in his MMA career. Meanwhile, Stephen Thompson is a former title challenger who has headlined six UFC events. In his most recent bout, Thompson did not headline but did take home Fight of the Night honors in his unanimous decision victory over Vicente Luque. As for Geoff Neal, in his latest contest, he became the first man to TKO “Platinum” Mike Perry and set his finishing rate at a staggering 77%. Stephen Thompson is currently the 5th ranked welterweight in the UFC while Neal sits just outside the top 10 at #11.

UFC on ESPN+41 takes place Saturday, December 19 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. With this new main event, here is updated lineup for the event:

Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal

Marlon Moraes vs. Rob Font

Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Vera

Greg Hardy vs. Marcin Tybura

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Manel Kape

Misha Cirkunov vs. Ryan Spann

Sijara Eubanks vs. Pannie Kianzad

Michel Pereira vs. Khaos Williams

Deron Winn vs. Antonio Braga Neto

Belal Muhammad vs. Dhiego Lima

Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jamie Pickett

Rick Glenn vs. Carlton Minus

Tyson Nam vs. Matt Schnell

Looking at the UFC on ESPN+ 41 lineup, do you believe the UFC made the right call choosing Stephen Thompson/Geoff Neal to be the new headliner?