March 2, 2017

UFC 209: Woodley and Thompson Run It Back For Welterweight Supremacy

By Adam Martin

One of MMA's most disputed decisions occurred back at UFC 205, when Tyron Woodley and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson fought tooth-and-nail for five rounds before the judges scored their fight a majority draw at the end of 25 minutes. One judge scored the fight 48-47 Woodley, but the other two judges had it 47-47, and that overruled the card for Woodley (even though ring announcer Bruce Buffer mistakenly announced Woodley as the winner by split decision before correcting himself).
Most fans and media who watched were fine with the 47-47 card, with the consensus giving Thompson 10-9 scores in rounds 2, 3, and 5 and Woodley a 10-9 score in round 1 and a 10-8 card in round 4 due to a knockdown and near submission attempt for a total of 47-47. It was a close fight and a draw seemed like a fair result for one of 2016's best fights.

With the fight being scored a draw, and with the better man between Woodley and Thompson yet to be determined, the UFC decided against giving Demian Maia and his six-fight win streak a title shot and instead decided to run back the Woodley and Thompson fight, as the rematch will now headline this weekend's stacked UFC 209 card. Of course getting this rematch booked was a struggle, as Woodley didn't feel like Thompson deserved a rematch and Maia was begging for a rematch, plus Nick Diaz for whatever reason entered the picture at one point as well. Credit to the UFC for putting together the rematch though, as this is absolutely the right move. After all, we watch fights to see who the better fighter is, and when a fight is a draw like the first Woodley vs. Thompson fight was, a rematch absolutely makes sense.

Considering how exciting the first fight was, the rematch absolutely has a chance to be one of 2017's best fights when it's all said and done because of how well these two match up against one another. Woodley is the explosive wrestler and power puncher who can control his energy and then finish his opponents in a flash, kind of similarly to Yoel Romero. Thompson, on the other hand, is more measured and controlled, and generally throws more volume, plus he's known for his spinning techniques and flashy knockouts. With Thompson mostly having the takedown defense needed to keep his fights standing, it makes for a very interesting matchup when he stands and trades with Woodley, who packs massive power in his strikes. With both fighters possessing fight-ending power in a fight that likely will stay standing for the most part, there's a very good chance that after both men took so much damage in the first fight just three months ago, someone will get finished this time around.

On paper, UFC 209 is one of the better cards so far in 2017, and the Woodley vs. Thompson rematch should be a fantastic main event. As a fan, all you can do is ask for a fair fight, and this is the definition of one. The first fight between these two was as close and competitive as it gets, and if the rematch is anything like the first fight, then the fans are in for a treat. Pairing this with a co-main event interim lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson should make for an amazing event, and Saturday night can't get here soon enough.

UFC 209: Woodley vs. Thompson 2 takes place March 4, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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