UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson engaged in an memorable showdown at UFC 205. However, we were left without a winner after the bout ended in a rare majority draw. Woodley retained his title but neither side was satisfied with the result.
The two will meet again in the main event of #UFC209 to settle who the better fighter between the two is once and for all. That is, unless there is another draw.
With a fight so close the first time around, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce Champions Picks, where we poll MMA fighters, fans and the Champions staff to pick the winners of major UFC cards.
And now, we roll out the official picks for Woodley vs. Thompson 2
Both the fans and staff here at Champions agree that the contender will knock off the champion in the rematch as 66% of our staff selected Thompson while 70% of the fans also gave the nod to "Wonderboy."
This falls in line with what the oddsmakers have as Woodley, despite being the champion, is the underdog in the rematch.
However, the fighters we polled were split on who would win the return bout between the two welterweights. Do they know something that we don't? Of course they do, they are fighters. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be right.
"I think Woodley will come in aggressive for the finish this time," says Champions staff writer Justin Golightly. "He's been talking about it the whole lead up to the rematch like he's going to end Thompson. If he does, I think a bigger Thompson, who now is familiar with Woodley, will outpoint him. It will be round 5 Thompson in round 1 this time."
It appears to be a prevailing thought that the man Georges St-Pierre recognizes as the greatest striker he has ever seen will play it smarter this time around and avoid being clipped by Woodley like he did in the fourth round of their original fight.
"I believe that Wonderboy has seen Woodley's game plan and will have used to time off to work on takedown defense and Grappling in order to keep the fight on his feet where I believe he outworked Woodley," fellow staff writer Amy Kaplan explained.
MMA legend Bas Rutten broke down what was necessary from both sides to win the rematch on his Champions blog.
"Tyron needs to start with straights to the body and add low kicks, and he needs to look at Thompson’s face (locked in, not even blink down), then hit the body," Rutten advised. "Respect Thompson’s striking, but don’t respect it too much. Fight up close (in a phone booth) so it’s harder for Wonderboy to use his legs."