Gilbert Burns vs Stephen Thompson – UFC 264 Prediction

This right here is a fun fight!

Gilbert Burns, coming off of the first defeat in 7 bouts at the hands of the seemingly unbeatable UFC Welterweight World Champion, Kamaru Usman, will be fighting the hungry as ever Stephen Wonderboy Thompson.

The Karate-Ka former two time title challenger, Thompson, has won two fights in a row over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. Both of those men are forward strikers who like to stay on the front foot.

This worked against them when they fought Wonderboy, though, because his whole style is built around beating those guys. To compete with Stephen, a fighter A-has to be very patient and B-they cannot get in a footwork battle with one of the best.

He wants you to come at him and it usually takes something highly explosive to catch him.

Anthony Pettis had to use the cage and a superman punch that was actually a hook to catch Thompson clean.

Darren Till fought one of the best fights of his life and still barely barely beat Wonderboy. The man is very good and I thought he might be declining before his last fight with Geoff Neal but on the contrary, he never looked better.

The guy doesn’t look a day over 18 but he did just turn 38 years old in February and his style is so reactionary that you would think he is going to have an Anderson Silva moment in there but Wonderboy seems like a guy that stays stress free and takes care of his body quite well.

Wonderboy will be the favorite in this fight and I think a big part of that is the stylistic matchup although you can probably tell by the title that I think Gilbert Burns is the one whose betting odds should be juiced.

Hey, I’m glad they aren’t because we can get one of the top 3 fighters in the UFC’s Welterweight Division at dog money. I think that is pretty solid but Stephen Wonderboy Thompson is a puzzle that few men have been able to piece together.

Please Note:
Gilbert Burns, though, doesn’t get enough respect for his smarts. The guy is super intelligent even though he looks and moves like he is all athleticism. I think this fight will play out similarly to Wonderboy’s title fights with the man formerly known as Tyron Woodley.

One fight was a draw and the other was a win for Woodley but neither fight was that entertaining. If we could get a number on the round total, I would look at betting the over in this one but for now, let’s stick to picking a winner of the fight.

The odds are available on BetOnline.AG even though this fight isn’t scheduled to go down until UFC 264 on July 10th. That is the same card as the Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier trilogy.

So, you know what that means? This fight will only be scheduled for 3 rounds.

Now, who does that favor and why?

Let’s take a look at the betting odds and answer as many of these questions as we can.

Stephen Wonderboy Thompson (-155) vs Gilbert Burns (+135)

Okay, is 3 rounds enough to solve the puzzle that is Stephen Thompson? I think so because it has been done before and if I’m getting dog money then I only need to cap this as a 50/50 fight in order to lock down some value on our wager.

Does Stephen Wonderboy Thompson have any opponents with similar styles to that of Gilbert Burns?

I would say so, yes, but with mixed results.

The South Carolina native, Thompson, has four losses in his career and they came inside of the Octagon and against fighters with similar styles to that of Gilbert Durinho Burns. Just look at this list and tell me you don’t see a pattern.

Matt Brown was the first man to defeat Stephen Wonderboy Thompson in a professional mixed martial arts bout. That may come as a shock to some but I think we all know what would happen if they fought again today.

Matt is a very good Muay Thai fighter who presses forward with not the best defense.

Wonderboy usually gets the best of fighters like this but Matt caught him early enough in his career and Brown was hell on wheels back in the day.

I have heard horror stories about how hard he has hit some sparring partners in the gym. He wasn’t a bully but I think you can tell from his personality that he is a no-nonsense type of fighter and man.

Wonderboy then lost to Tyron Woodley when he fought for the Welterweight title. After two fights with T-Wood, Wonderboy took on Darren Till in a fight where I actually picked correctly.

I haven’t had the most success doing so in Thompson fights but we got this one.

It was close but Till really showed how patient and intelligent he is in that fight. That was a 3-rounder. The Matt Brown fight was a 3 round fight as well. Then, Wonderboy fought Anthony Pettis and we picked Pettis here.

I don’t think it was the best pick because Wonderboy looked like he was on his way to a win but at the end of the second round as Anthony sneakily backed himself up against the cage, it was “Showtime”.

It appeared as if the blueprint was out on Wonderboy and the rest of the division had been reading up. Then, he fights Vicente Luque, a guy who has been putting 90% of his opponents away.

And he dominates Luque!

I was very surprised at this outcome. I really expected more from the Brazilian but styles make fights and Wonderboy was literally styling on Vicente.

Stephen has added the leg kick to his repertoire. He has always known how and kicked the legs of his opponents but never really been able to change a fight with them. He changed this guy’s life, though. That’s for sure.

I am not sure who this guy is but it appears he has some very strong legs…well…until he doesn’t.

Stephen is apparently meaner than we thought! All this time, he has been pretending to be a nice guy in a mean man’s sport while he is actually a total sadist like the rest of us.

I kid, kinda.

Wonderboy is a bad man but hey, so is Durinho Burns.

Wonderboy has defeated fighters with the same style as Durinho but none of those guys had the total package. Yes, Gilbert is a front foot forward fighter with excellent power for the welterweight division. He is also one of the top submission grapplers in the UFC.

I love his wrestling too. He could take down Wonderboy. I know it won’t be easy by any stretch but the possibility is there. I think it’s about a 33-40% probability that Burns can get him down if he tries 2-3 times.

Outside of that, though, it’s hard for me to believe that this isn’t a 50/50 fight on the feet.

The problem arises with every Stephen Wonderboy Thompson fight. There are no other similarly styled opponents that any fighter has had.

Wonderboy is one of a kind and always will be.

Burns has underrated footwork and a lot of folks will probably forget to take it into account.

His teammate Vicente Luque is a great striker but he relies on being in the pocket or in Muay Thai range. Wonderboy is already in and out at that point. This betting line opened up at (-155) for Gilbert Burns. That’s about where I think it should be. I had (-130) for Burns. This is a close fight, man but Durinho as the dog?

I don’t think so.

Take my money. I think Burns wins round 1 with early pressure cutting off the Octagon and maybe even winning some time in the clinch against Thompson.

The second round will be hard, though, because Stephen will have his reads and adjust accordingly.

I think we probably go to the 3rd round tied up and with Wonderboy’s low volume combined with Durinho’s pressure and Octagon control, the Brazilian should have a slight edge to win the round and thus the fight.

The Bets

In Conclusion

This is going to be such a fun scrap! Gilbert Burns will be fighting coming off of a loss for the first time in the past 7 fights/3 years.

Both men are exceptional strikers but Burns has a much better submission grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game. Can he implement it, though? That is the big question here because like many fights, this could come down to wrestling.

I still think it is 50/50 on the feet. Thompson is so slick but Burns is sneaky slick with double the KO power.

What is sneaky slick?

Well,  hear me out. People look at Gilbert and they see a bull, a great grappler with a lot of power on the feet. They think it will be easy to figure him out and tag him up on the feet. You just have to worry about the big power.

That really isn’t the case, though. He is smarter than you and you don’t even know it. Ask anyone. That is much scarier than if you know someone is smarter.

Please Note:
I’m not saying Wonderboy is going to go in there and underestimate his opponent but this is a close fight and Durinho is the underdog so he is going to get my money. I love his size and strength that should allow him to steal some control time against the fence against Wonderboy.

Get your bets in now because this betting line might shift again in the opposite direction. It was such a sharp move to start that I expect at least somewhat of a sharp line reaction. I know there are Burns backers out there who saw him open at (-155) and now as the (+135) dog…

They are going to bite so don’t waste any time and bet directly from this article.


Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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