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UFC Fight Night 183 results: Stephen Thompson shows vintage form in win over Geoff Neal

Stephen Thompson will turn 38 in February, but the “Wonderboy” still moves like a fighter years and years younger.

The two-time UFC welterweight title challenger showed he’s still an elite competitor near the top of the 170-pound division at UFC Fight Night 183 Saturday night, as he schooled a fighter seven years younger in Geoff Neal.

Neal (13-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) put in a respectable showing in his biggest spotlight. But Thompson (16-4-1 MMA, 11-4-1 UFC) stuck and moved and flustered his opponent for the better part of 25 minutes as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory in the final UFC fight of 2020. The judges scores were 50-45 across the board at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

“‘Wonderboy’ is still here, baby,” Thompson said in his post-fight interview. “That title, 2021, is going to be mine.”

The opening round set the tone for the entire fight. Despite being in the small cage, Neal had trouble finding his range. He pressured Thompson toward the fence, but couldn’t unleash any real offense. Thompson, for his part, used his trademark awkward movement to evade his foe and landed with a mix of punches and kicks, including particularly effective body shots. An accidental head butt late in the round opened cuts on both fighters.

It was more of the same in the second, with Thompson also targeting the cut over Neal’s right eye with surgical jabs. Neal did manage a big flurry in the closing seconds, his first real damage of the fight.

In the third, Neal managed to pin Thompson along the fence for a stretch, but could neither get him to the mat, nor do much with the position, Thompson broke free and resumed sticking and moving and implementing his game plan.

The fourth round saw Thompson up the intensity as Neal tried in vain to turn the fight in his favor. Somewhere along the way, Thompson hurt his right leg, and in the fifth, it started to become obvious. But when Neal came out swinging, seemingly knowing he needed the finish, Thompson answered the call, and the two competitors both gave as good as they got, landing big shots right up until the final horn in the fight’s most exciting round.

“Wonderboy” outlanded his foe 140-108 in significant strikes over the course of the fight.

With the win, Thompson has now won two in a row. Neal had a seven-fight winning streak snapped.

The welterweight bout was the UFC Fight Night 183 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It streamed on ESPN+.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 183 results include:

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