Stephen Thompson Predicts UFC 234 Main And Co-Main Events
The first UFC pay-per-view of the year goes down this weekend, with two highly anticipated fights in the main and co-main events. In the main event, home favourite Robert Whittaker, will defend his UFC middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum. While the co-main event sees many people’s GOAT Anderson Silva, take on the man many are calling the new Anderson, Israel Adesanya.
Whilst speaking to Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour, Stephen Thompson gave his thoughts on both fights. Firstly, speaking about the Silva vs Adesanya fight.
“You know what? To be honest with you, I don’t think it will be [competitive]. I mean, from watching Anderson Silva’s last few fights, he just wasn’t the same. I think whenever he broke his leg, when he fought [Chris] Weidman, it took a lot out of him. I think he was out for a very long time, and he just doesn’t, I don’t know, I don’t know if he doesn’t have that drive or that timing like he used to have. He just felt very slow and just didn’t have that timing like he used to.”
“I spent some time with Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida when they were training at Blackhouse in California. This was before I was in the UFC. I was looking for management and my brother-in-law Carlos Machado knew the guys over there at Blackhouse, so I spent a few weeks up there training with Anderson, which was a dream come true for me. Me coming from a karate and kickboxing background, Anderson Silva was like my idol, and so was Machida, especially with his karate background. And from sparring with him and seeing him then, and to see him his last few fights with [Michael] Bisping and I forgot who else it was [Derek Brunson], it’s just, there is a difference. There is a big difference.
“I think Israel’s going to go out there and school him. I mean, it would be cool, I think it would be very cool to see Anderson, him being the veteran, go out there and just finish him. That would definitely put a smile on my face, but I don’t see it happening.”
Speaking of the co-main event, Thompson was equally excited.
“Man, that’s going to be a great fight. I’m so looking forward to it. Robert Whittaker is definitely a different fighter from when I fought him last. His takedown defence is ridiculous, ridiculous! And his cardio is out there. Like, the guy does not get tired. But Kelvin Gastelum is the exact same. He’s got very good hands, Gastelum does, he’s got great wrestling. But I think Robert Whittaker is going to come out with the win. He’s got a longer reach. I think his movement and striking, his combinations are put together well, better than Kelvin Gastelum’s, and if Kelvin Gastelum gets overwhelmed with the striking, he’s not going to be able to taken Whittaker down, I don’t think.
“And Whittaker is a beast, he’s huge. I remember standing in front of him facing off with him at 170. I mean, big barrel chest, big arms, big shoulders. And I saw him not too long ago, and he’s massive. He’s massive. He’s not a big, big 185er. He’s just solid, which is great. I’m taking Whittaker on this one.”
How do you see these two fights going down?