UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Daukaus- Stephen Thompson vs Belal Muhammad: Prediction and Analysis

Published 12/16/2021, 11:52 PM EST
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27: Stephen Thompson interacts with fans and media during the UFC 205 press event at Madison Square Garden on September 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The co-main event for UFC Vegas 45 sees a top 10 welterweight battle between Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Belal Muhammad. Fans have outlined this technical striking battle as a must-see as both men bring some sharp skills to the table. Not to mention, this 170-pound clash will certainly have implications for the title landscape moving forward.

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Kamaru Usman currently rules over the welterweight division with an iron fist and he’s dispatched several title challengers. At this stage, fans want to see Usman face-off against new faces and both Thompson and Muhammad fit that bill perfectly. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has spent a meaningful portion of the year settling old rivalries through rematches.

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UFC Vegas 45: Stephen Thompson vs Belal Muhammad

‘Wonderboy’ comes in as the number 5 ranked welterweight fighter, and he has the opportunity to enter into contention. He was defeated in his last outing by Gilbert Burns, and his path towards another title shot was unfortunately delayed. Despite the setback, he is two victories away, at most, before he can stand across Kamaru Usman.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 02: (R-L) Stephen Thompson kicks Vicente Luque of Brazil in their welterweight bout during the UFC 244 event at Madison Square Garden on November 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Thompson comes in with arguably some of the crispest striking in the welterweight division off a karate stance. He effectively uses range with kicks to the body that sets up his hands in the long run. Additionally, Stephen Thompson is able to come over the top with check counters that pack a serious punch.

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‘Remember the name’ Muhammad is the number 10 ranked welterweight fighter who is fresh off a win over Demian Maia. He hasn’t lost a fight since January 2019 and is 5-0-1 in his last six fights. He will be looking to maximize this opportunity against Thompson after failing to capitalize on his feature against Leon Edwards.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (R-L) Belal Muhammad punches Dhiego Lima of Brazil in their welterweight fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Belal Muhammad is well-rounded in all facets of the game and he’s able to chain together his wrestling and striking. The 19-3 fighter is able to push the pace against the cage and has been able to grind out his opponents over the course of the contest. However, with Thompson’s comprehensive takedown defense, that could be easier said than done.

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Prediction: Stephen Thompson to claim a unanimous decision victory

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Darryl Pinto

2133 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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