The Karate Kid Returns
In the main event of the evening, No. 5 ranked Stephen Thompson takes on No. 11 ranked Geoff Neal in an exciting matchup in the welterweight division. Having previously fought for the title on two occasions, Thompson is still one of the premier talents in a competitive division and will be making his first appearance inside the Octagon® in 2020 this weekend. Known for his unorthodox Karate style, “Wonderboy” will be hoping to stake his claim at another title shot with an impressive performance against a ranked opponent.
Geoff Neal, however, is unbeaten in his UFC® career and enters this contest on a 7-fight win streak. “Hands of Steel” has already defeated the likes of Mike Perry and Niko Price, but will undoubtedly face the toughest test of his career to date against Thompson this weekend. This promises to be an exciting main event to close out 2020 between two contenders hoping to make a statement.
WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDERS: UFC CLOSES OUT THE YEAR WITH A 170-POUND BOUT THAT WILL SEE STEPHEN THOMPSON TAKE ON SURGING GEOFF NEAL
- Stephen Thompson (15-4-1, fighting out of Simpsonville, S.C.) looks to defend his position in the welterweight top five by stopping the momentum of another rising contender
- No. 5 ranked UFC welterweight contender
- Seven wins by KO, one via submission
- Five first-round finishes
- 9-3-1 in last 13 bouts
- Holds wins over Jorge Masvidal, Rory MacDonald and Robert Whittaker
- Geoff Neal (13-2, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) is gunning for his eighth consecutive win to stake his claim as a dangerous title threat
- No. 11 ranked UFC welterweight contender
- Eight wins by KO, two via submission
- Six first-round finishes
- On a seven-fight win streak
- Holds KO victories over Mike Perry, Niko Price and Frank Camacho
In the co-main event, bantamweights Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera will face-off in the penultimate matchup of 2020. The first UFC featherweight champion, Aldo holds a 28-7 professional record over the course of his career and recently challenged Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title. The veteran will be looking to return to winning ways and reinsert himself back into the title picture on Saturday night with a victory.
Marlon Vera enters the bout in good form, having won 6 of his last 7 contests and most recently defeating Sean O’Malley via first-round TKO. The Ecuadorian will be looking to maintain his momentum as the year draws to an end and will be poised for big things in 2021 if he can defeat a contender like Aldo.
BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE: JOSE ALDO FACES MARLON VERA IN A CO-MAIN EVENT BOUT GUARANTEED TO DELIVER FIREWORKS
- Jose Aldo (28-7, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has his sights set on becoming the first fighter to finish Vera by delivering a vintage performance
- No. 7 UFC bantamweight contender
- Two-time UFC featherweight champion
- 17 wins by KO, one via submission
- 12 first-round finishes
- Holds wins over Frankie Edgar (twice), Chad Mendes (twice), Chan Sung Jung and Urijah Faber
- Marlon Vera (16-6-1, fighting out of Chone, Manabi, Ecuador) intends to enter the bantamweight top 10 by finishing his first former UFC champion
- No. 15 UFC bantamweight contender
- Eight wins by submission, six via KO
- Seven first-round finishes
- Has won six of last seven
- Holds KO wins over Sean O’Malley, Andre Ewell, Frankie Saenz and Brad Pickett
Also in action, Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura will take on Greg Hardy to start the main card. Currently riding a three-fight win streak, having secured victories over Ben Rothwell, Maxim Grishin and Serghei Spivac, Tybura will be looking to continue his climb through the rankings and break into the top 15 with a convincing victory this weekend.
His opponent, Greg Hardy, should not be overlooked and the former NFL defensive lineman continues to learn and improve inside the Octagon. Currently holding a 7-2 professional record, Hardy has already defeated the likes of Yorgan De Castro and Maurice Green in his relatively young career and will be in search of an eighth career victory to round off the year.
OTHER FIGHTS ON THE CARD INCLUDE
- Michel Pereira (24-11 2NC, fighting out of Tucuma, Para, Brazil) locks horns with Khaos Williams (11-1, fighting out of Detroit, Mich.) in an all-action welterweight bout
- No. 3 ranked bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes (23-7-1, fighting out of Parkland, Fla. by way of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) takes on No. 11 Rob Font (17-4, fighting out of Woburn, Mass.) in a battle of talented strikers
- Marcin Tybura (20-6, fighting out of Uniejow, Poland) squares off with Greg Hardy (7-2 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) at heavyweight
- No. 12 ranked women’s flyweight contender Gillian Robertson (9-4, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Niagara Falls, Canada) goes for another highlight-reel finish against tough Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil alum Taila Santos (16-1, fighting out of Jaraguá do Sul, SC, Brazil)
- Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (23-10, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) faces Alex Morono (18-6 1NC, fighting out of Houston, Texas) at welterweight
- No. 13 ranked contender Belal Muhammad (17-3, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) battles Dhiego Lima (17-7, fighting out of Atlanta, Ga.) in an entertaining welterweight contest
- Women’s bantamweight contenders collide when No. 13 ranked Sijara Eubanks (7-5, fighting out of Toms River, N.J.) meets No. 14 Pannie Kianzad (14-5, fighting out of Helsingborg, Sweden, by way of Ahwaz, Iran)
- Middleweight finishers Karl Roberson (9-3, fighting out of Neptune, N.J.) and Dalcha Lungiambula (10-2, fighting out of Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa) vie for a post-fight bonus
- Deron Winn (6-2, fighting out of Gilroy, Calif.) faces Antonio Arroyo (9-3, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) in a 195-pound catchweight bout
- Aiemann Zahabi (7-2, fighting out of Montreal, Canada) ends a 19-month hiatus to square off with Dana White’s Contender Series signee Drako Rodriguez (7-1, fighting out of Sioux City, Iowa) at bantamweight
- Tafon Nchukwi (4-0, Temple Hills, Md. by way of Bamenda, Cameroon) meets fellow Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Jamie Pickett (11-4, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) in a middleweight bout
- Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Jimmy Flick (15-5, fighting out of Tulsa, Okla.) debuts against Cody Durden (11-2-1, fighting out of Covington, Ga.)
- Rick Glenn (21-6-1, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) takes on Carlton Minus (10-2 1NC, fighting out of Anchorage, Alaska) at lightweight