//Thompson to strengthen title claim

Thompson to strengthen title claim

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson will look to take advantage of Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis on Sunday when they clash at Bridgestone Arena.

Thompson, who can be backed at a best price of 1/4 to win, harbours hopes of winning another shot at the welterweight title after failing to make the most of his double-header with Tyron Woodley.

The 36-year-old is running out of time and knows any further slip-ups could prove costly in the long term.

A majority draw with Woodley in November 2016 led to a rematch, which he lost by majority decision in March 2017, and he has since beaten Jorge Masvidal before losing most recently at the hands of Darren Till.

The American is ranked third in the welterweight division and has champion Kamaru Usman in his sights, but he faces a tough road to the top.

Sunday’s trip to the Octagon is likely to prove troublesome when he goes up against one of the best strikers in the game.

Pettis may be making his UFC debut at welterweight but he has plenty of experience at featherweight and lightweight.

Indeed, ‘Showtime’, a former lightweight champion, started out his MMA career in the welterweight division before signing with the UFC in 2011.

Defeat to Tony Ferguson at UFC 229 in October left Pettis questioning where his future in the sport lies.

After serious consideration he agreed to head up to 170 pounds and Sunday’s bout could be the start of a special journey.

The pair have both earned a reputation for their impressive striking game and it’s extremely unlikely this one will go to the canvass.

Thompson’s reach advantage may allow him to control the fight but don’t expect Pettis to give him an easy ride.

A lack of action, having not fought since May 2018, could be detrimental for Thompson but he has played down suggestions that he will be rusty.

Thompson can be backed at a best price of 11/10 to win the fight by KO, TKO or disqualification.