How to bet UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Thompson 👊



Mar 6, 2018
How to bet UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Thompson


The welterweight division got shuffled in London last weekend, and there will be more potential updates to the rankings coming this weekend as the UFC heads to Nashville, Tennessee.

Former lightweight champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis moves up to welterweight for the first time to take on No. 3-ranked former title contender Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson.

It's a harsh matchup for Pettis in his first move to a larger division, but perhaps the headliner is an intentional pairing of two of the flashier strikers the UFC has to offer. In what could be a fan-friendly back-and-forth fight, we are bound to see some high-level kicking.

The odds are steep, owing to Pettis' untested move up in weight. Based on current prices, where does the betting value lie?

Welterweight matchup: No. 3 Stephen Thompson (-440) vs. Anthony Pettis (+350)

Tale Of The Tape
Last fight weight classLightweightWelterweight
Current age3236
Height (in)7072
Reach (in)7275
Analyzed minutes236182
Standup striking offense
Career knockdown ratio
(Scored : Received)
Distance knockdown rate2.9%4.6%
Head jab accuracy35%34%
Head power accuracy35%31%
Total standup strike ratio1.01.4
Striking defense
Total head strike defense72%79%
Distance knockdown
defense ("Chin")
Wrestling and grappling
TD attempts/minute
Takedown accuracy55%45%
Advances per
takedown/top control
Opponent takedown attempts11932
Takedown defense59%78%
Share of total ground
time in control
Submission attempts
per trip to ground


Having spent his career at lightweight, and even occasionally featherweight, Pettis was usually the rangier fighter in his matchups. Suddenly entering a bigger division, Pettis will find himself on the short end of the reach differential against Thompson, and likely for as long as Pettis remains in this division.
For a fighter who likes to fight at long range, it will be interesting to see if he has trouble closing the distance against a longer fighter who also specializes in distance striking, including lots of kicks. That said, the tale of the tape does grant Pettis a small "youth advantage" against Thompson, who is now on the wrong side of 35. Age and a long layoff -- he hasn't fought since losing to Darren Till last May -- will work against Thompson, who has been knocked down in three of his past four fights.

Pettis' durability and willingness to trade strikes will be critical against a kickboxing specialist like Thompson. Though Pettis may have the slicker submissions, he will undoubtedly have to contend with Thompson's evasive striking early and often. Pettis is actually the more accurate striker of the two, though he allows more strikes to pass through his defense. And while Pettis typically works at a higher overall pace of striking, Thompson has a way of keeping his opponents hesitant. The ingredients are present for an upset if Pettis can find Thompson's chin, but, again, the range differential could make for an uphill battle for Pettis.

Neither man utilizes much wrestling, but Pettis is the more dangerous fighter once on the mat. Thompson won't try to take the fight down, and his takedown defense is high enough that we may only expect a fleeting opportunity for Pettis from the clinch. This adds another stoppage wild card in Pettis' favor, but it again will be an uphill battle against Thompson, who has held larger and more accomplished wrestlers at bay.

E+ recommends: As we saw last week with Till versus Jorge Masvidal, this matchup appears to be a "dog or pass" situation on the moneyline. The numbers suggest a more even matchup than the current steep betting odds, and yet we must discount some of the lean toward Pettis due to the weight class change. Pettis has flashes of brilliance and is capable of stopping Thompson on the feet or on the ground. But Pettis will likely lose any round where he doesn't threaten a finish. For that reason, the only play here is a small flier on Pettis inside the distance, once that prop becomes available at what should be north of +400.