Stephen Thompson has won five straight fights and is 11-1 over the course of his professional career. Thompson will be looking for an upset win this Saturday over Johny Hendricks in the main event of UFC Fight Night 82.
The 32-year-old welterweight Thompson is a +180 betting underdog in this main event bout according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. This event was originally slated to be UFC 196, but the cancellation of the UFC heavyweight title bout at the top of the card bumped this down to a non-PPV event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Johny Hendricks is considered to be one of the best welterweights in the UFC, but he hasn't quite been able to get over the hump at the top of the division. Hendricks has lost two of his last three title fights and is just 2-2 over his last four fights since starting his pro career off 15-1.
To stay in the welterweight conversation and earn another title shot, Hendricks will need to use his wrestling ability to avoid an upset as a -225 favorite in this fight.
One of the things that makes Thompson so dangerous is his striking ability. Six of his 11 career wins, including three of his last four, have come by knockout. If Thompson can keep his distance and keep this fight off the mat, he could have a shot at an upset if he finds an opening.
Despite having lost five of his last six fights, the veteran Roy Nelson enters his heavyweight bout against Jared Rosholt as a -165 favorite. Rosholt (+135 to win) is 14-2 over his professional career and 6-1 since joining the UFC. However, five of those six wins have come by decision, indicating a relative lack of power in this hard-hitting division.
That strategy of sticking to wrestling will have to continue against Nelson, who is way too powerful of a puncher with whom to trade blows.
Other fights at the top of the card include Joseph Benavidez (-450) vs. Zach Makovsky (+325) and Ovince Saint Preux (-400) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (+300). Benavidez has a 23-4 record as a pro and has won four straight fights.
UFC Fight Night 82 betting lines
Johny Hendricks (-225) vs. Stephen Thompson (+180)
Roy Nelson (-165) vs. Jared Rosholt (+135)
Joseph Benavidez (-450) vs. Zach Makovsky (+325)
Ovince Saint Preux (-400) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (+300)