Just one fight removed from competing for the UFC welterweight title, Burns was smart and tactical with his game plan on Saturday night as he repeatedly put Thompson the ground and made him play defense to negate his versatile striking attack. When it was over, the judges all scored the fight 29-28 with Burns getting the victory.
“Sorry guys. Every time I step right here, I try to get a finish,” Burns said to a loud Las Vegas crowd. “Boo, I don’t care. I need more! Boo! Two checks, baby. The dream is still alive. I want to get that title.”
Rather than playing with Thompson on the outside, Burns was quick to look for the takedown, which then led to a battle in the clinch against the cage. Thompson showcased strong takedown defense but in a scramble, Burns was finally able to get him to the ground.
From there, Burns was methodical with his grappling acumen as he looked to advance his position and shred Thompson’s defense. While Thompson was eventually able to get back to his feet, Burns blasted him with several fast, hard punches in succession.
In an effort to evade that same strategy moving forward, Thompson was a lot more active to start round two as he started throwing more kicks to keep Burns away from him. Thompson was going to the body and then connected with a spinning heel kick that clipped Burns even as he brought up his hands to block it.
Just before the round ended, Burns managed to get a takedown and do some damage with a few hard shots just before the horn sounded.
With five minutes remaining, Thompson was on the attack as he cracked Burns with a hard right hand that put the Brazilian on his heels. Thompson followed that with another spinning heel kick that blasted Burns and dropped him down to the canvas momentarily.
Burns was quick to get back to his feet and then turn back to his grappling as he rushed ahead to latch onto a takedown to bring Thompson down to the canvas again. Once the fight hit the floor, Burns maintained control while peppering away with punches until the clock ran out.
While Thompson definitely had his moments, Burns ability to drag him to the mat and dominant the grappling exchanges ultimately earned him the decision. Now back in the win column, Burns is looking at several potential opponents as he looks to work his way back into title contention.
“Anyone can get it,” Burns shouted. “Jorge [Masvidal] if you want some, come and take it. Nate [Diaz], let’s see who the real gangster is. Leon [Edwards] you can take it as well.”