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?