Following a minor break, the UFC returns on December 3. A legend of MMA collides with the new generation in a spectacular headline bout for a stacked fight night card from the Amway Center in Florida.
Striking purist Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is hoping to avenge a two-fight losing streak, while Kevin Holland has the potential to make a statement by defeating a legend of the sport.
Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC on ESPN main event clash: Thompson vs. Holland, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC betting picks, predictions, and analysis.
Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland
UFC on ESPN Welterweight Main Event Bout
Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Amway Center
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
- Pro MMA Record: 16-6-1 (7 KOs, 1 submission, 8 decisions)
- UFC Record: 11-6 (5 KOs, 6 decisions)
South Carolina native Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is no stranger to a battle in the octagon. The 10-year UFC veteran has maintained a top-ranked status in the welterweight division for many years and continues to do so at age 40.
Often referred to as ‘the kindest man in MMA,’ a calming personality and lovable attitude shouldn’t be overlooked because when the cage door closes, Thompson is one of the most skillful offensive strikers in the company’s history.
After more than twenty years of professionally competing in combat sports, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room – age isn’t on the side of Thompson. However, this shouldn’t overshadow his current No.6 welterweight ranking, his decorated tenure as an undefeated kickboxer (20-0), and his top-ranked UFC mainstay.
Stephen Thompson Combat Sports Accomplishments
- UFC Fight of the Night (Two times)
- UFC Knockout of the Night (One time)
- UFC Performance of the Night (Four times)
Stephen Thompson Available Odds: (+118) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland
- Pro MMA Record: 23-8-0 (7 KOs, 6 submissions, 3 decisions)
- UFC Record: 10-5 (5 KOs, 2 submissions, 3 decisions)
Despite losing to Khamzat Chimaev via a D’Arce Choke in round one last time out, Kevin Holland remains a UFC fan favorite, and taking the fight on short notice against Chimaev was a commendable choice in itself.
If you aren’t already familiar with “Trailblazer,” you should do a quick google search. An extroverted personality and kill-or-be-killed attitude inside the cage have built a foundation he can make a career once he steps away from the fight game.
Big-Named Fights Only
Since defeating former title challenger Jacare Souza and with the combination of his social media following, Holland has forced his name to become a co-main or main-event draw. There’s no going back for the Texan kid, but his introduction top 10 of the middleweight division didn’t fare well.
However, Holland has since dropped to the 175lb welterweight division and is 2-0 since his move. Will history repeat itself now that he’s matched with a top-10 opponent? Or is the welterweight division a weight class that “Trailblazer” can conquer?
Kevin Holland Combat Sports Accomplishments
- UFC Performance of the Night (X5)
- Most wins in a calendar year (X5) in the UFC Middleweight division
- Tied (Neil Magny) for most wins in a calendar year (X5)
- XKO Welterweight champion
- XKO Middleweight champion (X1 title defense)
Kevin Holland Available Odds: (-130) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)
UFC on ESPN: Thompson vs. Holland Breakdown & Analysis
Thompson's Fight Style: How Can Thompson Defeat Holland?
We have ten years of fight tape in the UFC library that will display Stephen Thompson delivering a striking clinic. Unfortunately, wrestling/grappling has been his kryptonite, and since losing his title-challenging fight with Tyron Woodley, multiple grappling-based competitors have been able to take advantage.
We know what Thompson does best; he was raised by a former kickboxing world champion and has truly excelled in the striking department during his career. His footwork is sharp while maintaining an almost perfect distance from the opposition so he can pepper them with strikes. He’s able to blend various attacks and keep the opposition guessing, but as previously mentioned, age has evidently caught up with him.
Holland Fight Style: How Can Holland Defeat Thompson?
Size, aggression, jiu-jitsu offense, and power are four attributes that Holland can rely on in this bout. While he owns similar wrestling deficiencies to Thompson, he does have a notable jiu-jitsu game that can cause Thompson to act cautious in grappling situations.
The size of reach of this former middleweight can neutralize the excellent distance management that Thompson owns. Although he’s very good at striking his way to a decision win, I can’t envision Holland allowing Thompson to achieve this path to victory.
The Betting Pick
The available UFC odds at Bookmakers Review favor Holland, and it’s difficult to argue the moneyline price based on career trajectory alone. We can’t entirely count Thompson out, especially considering the level of opposition he’s lost to. Still, he’s not delivering the same speed and footwork he once did, and Holland’s aggressive nature should be enough to secure an impressive victory.
UFC on ESPN Main Card & Odds
- Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland [UFC welterweight main event bout]
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Bryan Barberena [UFC welterweight co-main event bout]
- Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell [UFC flyweight bout]
- Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergei Pavlovich [UFC heavyweight bout]
- Jack Hermansson vs. Roman Dolidze [UFC middleweight bout]
- Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus [UFC middleweight heavyweight bout]
UFC on ESPN Preliminary Card & Odds
- Niko Price vs. Phillip Rowe [UFC welterweight bout]
- Angela Hill vs. Emily Ducote [UFC women’s strawweight bout]
- Clay Guida vs. Scott Holtzman [UFC lightweight bout]
- Michael Johnson vs. Marc Diakiese [UFC lightweight bout]
- Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce [UFC featherweight bout]
- Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas [UFC women’s flyweight bout]
- Natan Levy vs. Genaro Valdez [UFC lightweight bout]
- Francis Marshall vs. Marcelo Rojo [UFC bantamweight bout]
- Yazmin Jauregui vs. Istela Nunes [UFC women’s strawweight bout]
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.