Wonderboy!! What Is The Secret To Your Power?

After a rare free week, the Octagon will return to Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship has planned a robust event for fans at the Amway Center. In the main event of UFC on ESPN 42, Stephen Thompson faces Kevin Holland, who is trying to make a name for himself at 170 pounds, in an effort to stave off a late-career collapse. Beyond that, the program showcases a variety of former well-known performers and future challengers. In the co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos makes his comeback to the welterweight division to face Bryan Barberena. Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich, two heavyweight contenders, also square off. The return of Matt Schnell from a "Fight of the Year" contender completes what has all the makings of a compelling fight.

How much gas does Thompson still have left? Given how precisely the decade began, "Wonderboy" is undoubtedly starting his late-career decline. Nevertheless, the UFC has enjoyed success during this time. The great anticipation around Thompson at the time was increased by a dazzling victory against Dan Stittgen, but a lopsided defeat to a then-unrespected Matt Brown made him appear more like a curious curiosity than any sort of potential contender.

After the Brown loss, Thompson took a year off and returned in much better shape. He won seven straight matches, including victories over Rory MacDonald, Johny Hendricks, and Robert Whittaker, to establish himself as a contender. Due to his karate training and quick reactions, Thompson was able to set range. Holland was a competitor who, at least initially, flourished during the UFC's epidemic era and was consistently entertaining. He became a regular on the UFC's events in 2020 thanks to his desire to get in and fight as frequently as possible, and his relentless trash-talking brought some much-needed life to an otherwise quiet stadium.

All of Holland's fights this year were victories, and his inventive knockout of Ronaldo Souza at the conclusion of the year established him as a viable contender in 2021. Then everything utterly went wrong. A major event loss to Derek Brunson showed how much Holland's inventiveness might be undermined by a tenacious wrestler; this problem was further exposed when he substituted for another main event three weeks later against Marvin Vettori. It will be interesting to see what Holland can accomplish in this task after his last fight, which he lost quickly due to the matchmaking chaos at UFC 279, was one he was always going to lose. Similar to Thompson, Holland ought to feel much more at ease facing a challenger who does not intend to wrestle.

Although from a technical perspective Thompson is still the superior striker, given "Wonderboy's" youth and athleticism, this does seem like a bit of an unfair matchup for "Wonderboy."

The main event should be an entertaining fight for everybody, so be sure to check the event on Sunday morning! There you go, Fighters! Our fight preview for the upcoming fight for this week. Remember to consistently train and purchase your training needs here at Hawkeye Fightwear!

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