Tyron Woodley is no stranger to being looked past.
Right up to the moment that he violently dispatched Robbie Lawler to win the welterweight title at UFC 201, Woodley was being listed as a 2-to-1 underdog across nearly every major sports betting site. Against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 184 last year, he was a +110 underdog. Against Dong Hyun Kim, Rory MacDonald, and Carlos Condit, he was listed at +110, +110, and -110 (to Condit's -140), respectfully. On all of those occasions except one, he still came out with his hand raised when all was said and done.
It's a pattern that makes you wonder why "The Chosen One" is constantly overlooked by oddsmakers, despite consistently defying them at every turn. Even in a division as stacked with talent as 170 is, Woodley has proven himself to be that ever-rare kind of power grappler with fierce knockout power that harkens back to the days of Chuck Liddell. Now slotted to put his belt on the line against Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson at UFC 205 in November, it seems that Woodley will once again be relegated to the role of underdog.
With the books now officially open on the fight, Woodley has come out of the gate as a +120 underdog to the karate-style fighter, a number which Nick Kalikas of MMAOddsBreaker.com feels can be attributed to Thompson's technical precision and ability to control the distance.
"Tyron Woodley is a deserving and dangerous champion, but he may have his hands full in Stephen Thompson," Kalikas told ESPN.com. "Thompson has proven himself as the best striker at 170 pounds. Woodley has explosive power and excellent wrestling, but he has had difficulty against technical strikers with excellent takedown defense."
"Thompson uses distance expertly and recently proved he can push a solid pace for five rounds. I'm opening the title challenger Thompson as a favorite because I feel as long as he survives Woodley in the first round and settles in, he'll be able to control almost every dynamic of the fight."
It's a big if for any fighter, but especially so for Thompson. Though "Wonderboy" has never been knocked out (his only UFC loss came to Matt Brown via decision back in 2012), he has shown a tendency to get dropped at least once in his fights, which could mean the end right then and there against a power-puncher like Woodley. Of course, we'll find out just how accurate the oddsmakers are when UFC 205 goes down on November 12th.
The current card is as follows:
- Eddie Alvarez (c) vs. Conor McGregor
- Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Stephen Thompson
- Joanna Jędrzejczyk (c) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
- Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum
- Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington
- Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens
- Tim Kennedy vs. Rashad Evans
- Tim Boetsch vs. Rafael Natal
- Jim Miller vs. Thiago Alves
- Lyman Good vs. Belal Muhammad
- Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian