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UFC Nashville: Main Event Preview

            The “music city” known as Nashville will push the aside the guitars this weekend and prepare as two of the best in MMA slip on 4 oz. gloves –  ­as the UFC comes into to town. In a card that’s headlined by a former champion making his debut at welterweight against a top ranked opponent that has shown promise over the years but hasn’t been able to reach championship status despite fighting for the belt twice.  Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-3-1) vs “Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (21-8-0-) will meet in a main event bout that features two of the premier strikers in all of MMA this Saturday ­– live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on ESPN+.



A post shared by Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (@wonderboymma) on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:50am PDT

           The crowing of a recently new champion in the welterweight division could just be what a division who hadn’t had any change at the top in a couple of years, needs. With the thought of a new champion fresh in the mind of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, it’s evident that a new fire may be brewing in him. With a new champion reigning king of the division, Wonderboy sees his path to a title shot a little less rigorous if he can string together a couple wins. First, he will look to take care of business against a proven striker that in Wonderboy’s eyes will come at him with a bunch of “ninja stuff”.



A post shared by Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (@wonderboymma) on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:52am PDT

Although this is Showtime’s debut at welterweight he’s a former champion at lightweight and has also made an appearance in the featherweight division. He has fought against some of the most elite in the UFC but some may think he is no longer the Showtime who was once throwing kicks running against the octagon. He is still one of the most exciting fighters in the organization, a statement which is easily backed by going 3 for 3 in his most recent fights as he’s received Fight of the Night twice (Poirier and Ferguson) and Performance of the night (Chiesa) once. Pettis isn’t looking to his past for some type of confidence boost as he embarks on a new journey inside a division which due to last week’s fight in London has been pushed to the forefront in terms of notoriety. He’s also not intimidated by his opponent nor the increase in weight he’s jumping up to challenge Wonderboy. Showtime has let it be known that he’s out to “show the world that weight doesn’t matter, it’s about skillset and (he has) the skillset to beat (Wonderboy).”



A post shared by Anthony Pettis (@showtimepettis) on Jan 4, 2019 at 3:45pm PST

Another interesting aspect is that both fighters has perfected their styles to adapt to MMA and it’s a big reason why both have been consistently at the top of the rankings for quite some time. Anthony Pettis is a student of Taekwondo – which is a Korean style of karate. Stephen Thompson has excelled at karate, it’s a style that surprisingly isn’t so common in MMA but in the case for “Wonderboy” his karate has caused numerous problems for his opponents. The difference between the two is primarily evident in the fighter’s stance­ – amongst other things. It’s definitely not being overlooked by Pettis though because he’s gone on to say that wonderboy’s “(fighting) style is beautiful” but it went without saying that “it’s a hard puzzle to figure out”. The respect between these two fighters is definitely there. Neither is taking the other lightly.



A post shared by Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (@wonderboymma) on Feb 23, 2019 at 6:12am PST

            When the octagon closes behind both fighters, it’ll be the moment we have all been waiting for. Showtime vs. Wonderboy ­– one will look to defend his division and restate his claim for another shot at the Welterweight belt. The other will look to shake up the division and add to his legacy by becoming an overnight contender in an already stacked division.  One thing for sure is there will be no southern charm between the two and the only thing sweeter then the tea this weekend might be the way this fight finishes. Both are looking to come out victorious; when they meet in the middle of the octagon in Nashville be sure to tune in on ESPN+ because “IT’S TIME”.

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