We’ve all been looking forward to the returns of welterweight talents Stephen Thompson (17-6-1) and Michel Pereira (28-11, 2 NC).
The two were originally slated to face one another this weekend at UFC 289, however, contracts were never signed, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship has decided to move the bout to UFC 291 instead.
UFC 291 is to go down on July 29, 2023, live from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Stephen Thompson has been at it for some time now, beginning his career with kickboxing. He’d go 37-0 as an amateur, laying claim to 16 titles along the way before turning professional, where he also became champion and went undefeated with a record of 20-0.
Thompson then decided to try his hand at MMA, where he went 5-0 prior to his UFC signing in 2012.
A Knockout of the Night award was given to him in his UFC debut (head kick), before he’d lose for the first time to a surging Matt Brown (UD).
Following the first defeat of his combat career, Thompson would win his next seven-straight fights, having defeated the likes of future UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (TKO), former middleweight title challenger Patrick Cote (UD), Jake Ellenberger (KO), former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (TKO), and former welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald (UD), who went on to win the Bellator welterweight title following defeat to Thompson.
This led up to Thompson’s title fights with then champion Tyron Woodley, the first of which resulted in a draw, and the second resulting in a majority decision defeat.
Thompson then defeated Jorge Masvidal (UD), before losing back-to-back fights to Darren Till (UD) in a narrowly scored contest, and then former WEC & UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (KO), a fight he was dominating up until the point he lost.
‘Wonderboy’ then defeated Vicente Luque (UD) and Geoff Neal (UD), before losing to top contenders Gilbert Burns (UD) and Belal Muhammad (UD) over his next two outings. He does however go into this fight on a win, where he defeated Kevin Holland (TKO) last December.
Michel Pereira, like Thompson, stunned everyone in his UFC debut with a first round KO victory, his over fellow striker Danny Roberts (flying knee). He’d lose back-to-back fights following this win, however, fights he just didn’t reserve his energy in, and it cost him.
First Pereira lost to Tristan Connelly (UD), a natural lightweight and featherweight, and then Diego Sanchez (DQ) in a fight he was winning.
Since then, Pereira has won his last five-straight over the likes of Zelim Imadaev (rear naked choke), Khaos Williams (UD), Niko Price (UD), Andre Fialho (UD), and most recently Santiago Ponzinibbio (SD), each of which he demonstrated technical striking, athleticism, and patience.
Seeing him go into a fight with that gameplan against one of the most technically skilled strikers of all-time makes for an incredibly intriguing fight!
Who do you see coming out on top in this welterweight bout going down at UFC 291?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!