A welterweight matchup between two-time division championship challenger, the #5 ranked contender, Stephen Thompson, and the #9 rated, Belal Muhammad has been booked to feature at the upcoming UFC Vegas 45 event on December 18. The UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada has been confirmed as the event’s venue.
Entering the bout off a unanimous decision defeat to one-time title challenger, Gilbert Burns at UFC 264 back in July, veteran kickboxing expert, Thompson attempts to make the final push toward his third title tilt under the promotion’s banner.
As for Muhammad, the wrestling expert enters the end-of-year bout with Thompson off the back of an impressive unanimous decision victory of his own over former middleweight and welterweight title challenger, Demian Maia back at UFC 263 in June. MMA Junkie reporters, Nolan King, Mike Bohn, and John Morgan were first to report the matchup of Thompson and Muhammad.
Undefeated in two prior to his loss to Sanford MMA standout, Burns, Simpsonville striker, Thompson had headlined UFC Vegas 17 in December of last year — knocking back fellow kickboxing talent, Geoff Neal — handing the Texan his first promotional loss.
Prior to that headlining bout, Thompson featured at Madison Square Garden back in November 2019 — taking home an impressive, one-sided unanimous decision victory over the now #4 rated, Vicente Luque.
A two-time welterweight title challenger, Thompson would battle with former champion, Tyron Woodley to a majority draw at UFC 205 in November 2016, before suffering a majority decision loss to the St. Louis promotional alum the following March.
Thompson holds notable career victories over the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks, Rory MacDonald, Patrick Cote, Robert Whittaker, as well as fellow two-time title challenger, Jorge Masvidal.
For 33-year-old Chicago-born contender, Muhammad the December outing with Thompson will come as his fourth of this year.
The Illinois native managed a prior unanimous decision victory over Dhiego Lima in February — before replacing Khamzat Chimaev against the #3 ranked, Leon Edwards the following month. However, their headlining tilt resulted in an eventual official ‘No Contest’ after Edwards landed an unintentional second round eye poke — rendering Muhammad unable to continue.
In his Octagon return, Muhammad featured at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona for the aforenoted, UFC 263 card where he bested Maia.
UFC Vegas 45 takes place on December 18. from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada — with a pivotal heavyweight fight between Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukuas slated to take headlining status.
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