- When the pair met less than four months ago, Woodley retained his title after a majority draw in New York. It was a thrilling contest which flowed one way and then the other, showcasing both fighters’ skills, but neither man could finish off their opponent and the judges could not split them. Two of the three scored the fight as a draw at 47-47, and only one found marginally in favour of Woodley at 48-47.
- The clash with Thompson left Woodley’s career record at 16 wins, three defeats and just the one draw from 20 fights. He had beaten Robbie Lawler in his previous bout last July to take the Welterweight title, dismantling the former champion with a brutal first-round knockout.
- Thompson has 13 wins from 15 career fights, and had registered seven straight victories prior to the draw with Woodley. He overcame both Rory MacDonald and John Hendricks last year, putting in a couple of blistering performance to further enhance his ‘Wonderboy’ image.
Thompson was the fans’ favourite ahead of the November fight and was widely tipped to take the belt, but Woodley turned out to be a much tougher challenge than many expected and deservedly kept his title. The scoreline may have been virtually even, but in truth Woodley had several chances to finish the fight, landing several huge blows and executing a guillotine choke which Thompson somehow resisted.
There is a sense that Woodley may have missed his chance and Thompson will have learnt from his mistakes. With the crowd on his side, the challenger is an understandable favourite and if he can keep Woodley at arms’ length he is such a formidable kickboxer that an early finish could be on the cards. However, the margins are so small and it was Woodley who controlled the bout at Madison Square Gardens. Woodley is the stronger wrestler and, even if he again fails to deliver the knockout blow, his underdog status makes him well worth a punt.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Tyron Woodley to win - 7/5
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.