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Stephen Thompson karate kicked his way to a title shot against Tyron Woodley, but couldn’t get the job done after two tries. Jorge Masvidal has an entire career based on Muay Thai-ing the hell out of people – including Donald Cerrone – but he couldn’t keep Demian Maia off his back, so he’s sort of in the same non-contender limbo as Thompson. And of course UFC 217 has these two high-level strikers fighting each other.

If anyone has mastered the ability to make their body’s advantages work for them, it’s Thompson, and it’s immediately apparent in how he stands just outside of Masvidal’s striking range yet is close enough to plant sidekicks against any opening Masvidal gives him. Masvidal tries to bridge the gap with forward movement, and his low-kicks are repeatedly slamming against his foe’s lead leg, but Thompson is in constant lateral motion, and Strikeforce vet simply can’t land anything of substance.

All three rounds are ultimately the same, with Thompson knocking Masvidal down with sidekicks, clocking him with a left hand whenever he’s in range, and moving, moving, moving. Masvidal tries for a few takedowns, but they get him nowhere, and though he does manage to land a few punches, and his leg-kicks are ever present, he simply cannot figure out the Thompson riddle in the allotted time.


Results: Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision