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Geoff Neal will get his long-awaited chance to breach the Top 10 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division when he confronts Stephen Thompson in the UFC Fight Night 183 headliner this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event marks the end of the promotion’s disjointed 2020 schedule, which included a two-month pause and countless bout cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thompson has been a staple of the UFC’s 170-pound weight class for nearly nine years. However, he has not competed since he snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Vicente Luque at UFC 244 on Nov. 2, 2019. Neal, meanwhile, has won all five of his fights inside the Octagon. He last appeared at UFC 245, where he needed just 90 seconds to cut down Mike Perry with a head kick and follow-up punches a little more than a year ago.
As Thompson and Neil approach their high-stakes battle, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
37: Years of age for Thompson, who was born on Feb. 11, 1983 in Simpsonville, South Carolina—a city of some 25,000 people in the northwest corner of The Palmetto State.
1: Submission win on the Thompson resume. “Wonderboy” dispatched Marques Worrell with a second-round rear-naked choke at a Fight Party event in 2010. The South Carolina-based karateka owns seven other victories by knockout or technical knockout.
5: First-round finishes to Thompson’s credit, accounting for 33% of his career total (15). Danny Finz, Daniel Stittgen, Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks were the victims.
10: Thompson wins as a UFC welterweight, tying him with Leon Edwards for 10th among active fighters. Only Neil Magny (17), Matt Brown (15), Demian Maia (13), Robbie Lawler (13), Diego Sanchez (12), Kamaru Usman (12), Luque (12), Tim Means (11) and Colby Covington (11) have more.
315,000: Dollars of post-fight bonus money banked by Thompson across his 15 appearances under the UFC flag. He has been awarded “Performance of the Night” three times, “Fight of the Night” twice and “Knockout of the Night” once.
30: Years of age for Neal, who was born in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 28, 1990. The starting lineup for the eventual World Series champion Cincinnati Reds that day: CF Billy Hatcher, 2B Mariano Duncan, SS Barry Larkin, LF Eric Davis, 3B Chris Sabo, RF Paul O’Neill, 1B Todd Benzinger, C Terry McGriff and P Jose Rijo.
2:25: Knockdowns per 15 minutes of UFC competition for Neal. It ranks as the highest such rate in the history of the welterweight division, just ahead of Abdul Razak Alhassan (2.24).
8: Neal victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 62% of his professional total (13). He owns two other wins by submission.
76: Significant strikes by which Neal has outlanded his five UFC opponents. The Fortis MMA rep has connected with 200 such strikes inside the Octagon while absorbing only 124 in return from Perry, Niko Price, Belal Muhammad, Frank Camacho and Brian Camozzi.
1,421: Days since Neal last suffered a defeat. He has rattled off seven consecutive victories since he succumbed to punches from Kevin Holland in the third round of their Xtreme Knockout 34 main event on Jan. 28, 2017.
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