Burns’ comments come after he recorded a unanimous decision win against “Wonderboy” in last Saturday’s co-main event. Despite not thrilling the Vegas audience inside the T-Mobile arena, the Brazilian put on a mature and impressive display against one of the top 170-pound names in the UFC.
Having fallen short of capturing the welterweight title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 earlier this year, Burns would have been desperate to rebound and keep his name in the title conversation at UFC 264. In front of over 20,000 fans, he did exactly that.
But despite executing a nearly flawless game plan on his way to having his arm raised after three rounds, Burns was met with a tirade of boos for his grappling heavy approach against Thompson.
After controlling the majority of the final round in top position, “Durinho” heard three 29-28 scores in his favor. In his post-fight interview, the 34-year-old apologised for not finding a finish.
“Sorry guys, every time I expect to try and get a finish but it’s a complicated thing,” said Burns while addressing the sold-out crowd.
But after appearing apologetic inside the Octagon, Burns later took to Twitter to hit back at anyone criticizing his path to victory at the entertaining PPV.
“Couple facts! In the last 8 years only 1 guy was able to take Wonderboy down 3 x Only one guy was able to control him over 7 min. And only one guy was able to don’t get a lot of damage in 17 fights that Wonderboy had in the UFC Maybe not the most entertaining fight but a Good W”
Given Thompson’s striking credentials, it’s hard to see why so many have spoken out against Burns’ strategy. “Wonderboy,” who is unbeaten in over 50 kickboxing bouts, had looked back to his best prior to UFC 264 after securing dominant wins on the feet against Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal.
Judging by their disparity in the stand-up realm and Thompson’s success when given the chance to strike during the fight, it’s clear Burns had to take Thompson down and control him if he was to secure what was a crucial victory in the context of the division.
But along with many fans, UFC president Dana White also appeared unsatisfied with how the fight played out. During the post-fight press conference, White said he wasn’t particularly impressed by Burns’ victory (via Aaron Bronsteter).
“He won… It wasn’t a good fight, but he won.”
What did you make of Gilbert Burns’ victory over Stephen Thompson at UFC 264?