Anthony Pettis vs. Stephen Thompson Is Strange UFC Matchmaking • MMA News

It wasn’t means again that Anthony Pettis was rumored to battle Justin Gaethje in a lightweight bout at UFC on ESPN 1. For irrespective of motive, that battle under no circumstances materialized. As a substitute, the UFC booked Gaethje in opposition to Edson Barboza in what wants to be a lightweight showdown of epic proportions. The UFC matchmakers gave Pettis a novel opponent altogether, nonetheless with a twist. For the first time in his UFC occupation, Pettis will doubtless be transferring as a lot as welterweight, and he’ll make his 170lbs debut in opposition to excessive contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Battle Night Nashville this coming March.

At first look, that’s some uncommon matchmaking. It’s a very fascinating switch by Pettis and his camp to maneuver up in weight this late in his occupation. Not solely did Pettis have an unbelievable amount of success as a lightweight throughout the UFC, even holding the championship belt for just a few years, it’s nonetheless stunning to see him switch as a lot as 170. Keep in mind, it wasn’t that means again that Pettis fought at 145lbs, although that switch didn’t go as deliberate after he missed weight in a title battle. Considering it wasn’t that means again that he was combating as a featherweight, it positively raises eyebrows seeing him switch up in weight at this stage of his occupation.

The UFC isn’t doing any favors to Pettis by matching him up in opposition to Thompson, each, as he’s merely among the many finest welterweights throughout the UFC. Thompson is equally professional to Pettis nonetheless arguably further sturdy, sooner, and better. On paper it merely seems to be like like a horrible matchup for Pettis. On the similar time, though, he sort of skips the highway on this bout by taking on a top-five opponent. The hazard is all on Thompson on this battle, as Pettis has nothing to lose proper right here. He’s going to be anticipated to lose, and rightly so, as Thompson is the upper fighter correct now. For Thompson, it should want to have been a state of affairs the place he wishes to get once more throughout the Octagon after having not fought since last Would possibly’s theft willpower loss to Darren Till. And on paper it wants to be a winnable battle for him proper right here in opposition to Pettis.

On the similar time, though, why couldn’t the UFC have found a top-ranked welterweight to battle Thompson? Fighters like Santiago Ponzinibbio and Leon Edwards deserved this battle in opposition to the top-ranked Thompson rather a lot further. Outside of UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, and Kamaru Usman, Thompson is probably going to be the perfect welterweight throughout the UFC. There have been guys who’ve been inserting throughout the time at 170lbs that deserved the prospect to battle him and take his score away from him better than in opposition to Pettis. It’s going to look awfully uncommon if Pettis not directly pulls off the upset proper right here after which is able to get ranked above guys like Ponzinibbio who’re on prolonged profitable streaks contained in the division.

Stylistically, Pettis vs. Thompson is an sincere battle, nonetheless there have been totally different fights that the UFC could have booked. As a substitute of reserving Pettis in opposition to Thompson correct off the bat, the promotion ought to have given him a falling veteran equal to Carlos Condit, Matt Brown or Neil Magny, fighters who’ve seen their increased days. These fights would have made rather more sense and wouldn’t disrupt the rankings and pure pecking order at 170lbs. As a substitute, Pettis is getting gifted a shot in opposition to a top-five opponent and is getting an opportunity to leap ahead of various guys. There have been increased fights the UFC could have and should have booked. It’s positively faraway from the worst matchup the UFC has ever put collectively, nonetheless Pettis vs. Thompson at welterweight is uncommon matchmaking definitely.

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