If style points counted extra, then this would be the main event.
Two of UFC's wackiest welterweights, Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira, will duke it out at UFC 291, where there's bound to be some fun exchanges.
When Thompson and Pereira meet on July 29, "Wonderboy" will be the favorite. Right now, he carries -170 odds.
Stephen Thompson vs Michel Pereira Betting Odds
Odds as of July 24
Per our odds calculator, a $100 bet on Thompson at -170 (62.96% implied chance) pays out $158.82. The same $100 on Pereira's +140 odds (41.67% implied chance) pays out $240.
UFC 291 Betting Odds & Fight Card
Odds as of July 24
Thompson vs Pereira Betting Preview: To Stop or not to stop; that is the question
There's no doubt Thompson vs Pereira is a banger, but will we witness a finish? Let's dig in.
How Pereira Wins
"Demolidor" has shucked his reputation as an in-Octagon lunatic, who'd leap for backflips and run off the cage before gassing out. Those days are behind him; he's a real fighter now with a real chance at an upset vs Thompson.
Pereira will carry a significant muscle advantage over his leaner opponent. But such explosiveness requires a ton of oxygen. The 29-year-old must find a way to rack up damage without depleting himself because a one-on-one strikefest with Thompson won't end well.
Watch for the Brazilian to come out hot, but turn to the clinch game and even fire a takedown later in the bout. Pereira is ballsy and will want to prove himself, but as Thompson defends and counters, he'll need a more diverse strategy.
How Thompson Wins
Wonderboy's defense will be just as important as his creative striking in this fight. Pereira is stronger — and his blistering overhand can do damage — but he's predictable. The Brazilian shimmies side-to-side then presses with straight shots and front kicks.
Having been in the game forever, Thompson has elite fight IQ. Pereira's cardio is better, but it's nowhere near Wonderboy's level. Watch for Thompson to drain Pereira with damage. He'll get the big man thinking with tons of feints and then drill into his midsection with side-kicks.
Once Thompson gets Pereira reeling, then he'll open up with his patented spinning headkicks or a big one-two combo from the southpaw stance.
Thompson vs Pereira Betting Pick
Nine of Wonderboy's last 11 bouts have gone the distance. Five of Pereira's eight UFC bouts have gone the distance. So, easy bet on a full 15 minutes?
I think there will be some seriously damaging moments in this fight, perhaps not hard enough for a stoppage, but we'll get really close.
My best bet is Thompson by decision (TBD), but I won't ignore a play on the fight to end inside the distance (TBD), Thompson inside the distance (TBD) or even a sprinkle on Thompson in Round 2 or Round 3.