UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal (also known as UFC Fight Night 183, UFC on ESPN+ 41, and UFC Vegas 17) was a mixed martial arts event held at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, the United States on December 19, 2020, created by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
To serve as the marquee of this gathering, a welterweight fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev was initially planned. It was revealed on November 29 that Chimaev tested positive for COVID-19 but was supposed to be able to participate. In turn, after also testing positive, Edwards pulled out two days later.
His condition was worse than that of Chimaev’s and he also had serious signs of the disorder. It is expected that the promotion will hold the bout alive and reschedule the pairing in early 2021 for a potential event.
As the show headliner, the original co-main event was a welterweight fight between former UFC Welterweight Title contender Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal.
It was predicted that a flyweight fight between Matt Schnell and Tyson Nam will take place at the event. The pairing was originally expected to take place at UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill in September.
However, on the day of the event’s weigh-in, the fight was postponed as Schnell was declared physically incompetent to compete due to problems linked to his weight loss. At UFC Fight Night 185, they are now scheduled to clash.
At this case, a welterweight bout was scheduled to take place between Belal Muhammad and Sean Brady. However, Muhammad announced in late October that Brady had a fractured nose and had to pull out of their fight.
Dhiego Lima substituted him. Subsequently, during the week leading up to the event, Muhammad was diagnosed with COVID-19 and the bout was scrapped. It is planned that the pairing will be left unchanged and rescheduled in early 2021 for a potential occurrence.
In a middleweight bout at the event, Deron Winn and Antônio Braga Neto were scheduled to clash. In exchange, for unknown reasons, Braga Neto was withdrawn from the contest and replaced by Antônio Arroyo, thus changing the contest to a catchweight of 195 pounds.
For the event, a flyweight bout was scheduled between Alexandre Pantoja and former Rizin FF Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape. In early December, however, due to COVID-19 sequelae, Pantoja pulled out of the fight. It is hoped that the promotion will retain the pairing alive and reschedule it for a case in early 2021.
The UFC Flyweight Championship bout between current champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno at UFC 256 a week earlier served as a possible substitute for Kape.
At this case, Misha Cirkunov was scheduled to fight Ryan Spann in a light heavyweight bout. Cirkunov, however, pulled out due to an injury in early December and the bout was postponed to a future date.
A flyweight fight was originally planned for UFC on ESPN between Jimmy Flick and Cody Durden: Hermansson vs. Vettori two weeks ago, but the pairing was cancelled after Durden had conjunctivitis on the day of the event. At this case, the matchup was left unchanged and took place.
A middleweight bout between Karl Roberson and Dalcha Lungiambula was also rescheduled for this event. At UFC 256, they were scheduled to clash, but Roberson tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was delayed. They experienced a second cancellation a day before the event due to Roberson’s COVID-19 related problems.
For this case, a lightweight bout was scheduled between former WSOF Featherweight Champion Rick Glenn and Carlton Minus. It was, however, confirmed that Glenn dropped out due to unknown reasons during fight week. Christos Giagos substituted him and the fight took place at a 160-pound catchweight.
At this case, Aiemann Zahabi was scheduled to fight Drako Rodriguez in a bantamweight bout. However, due to Zahabi testing positive for COVID-19, the bout was scrapped on December 17.
The following fighters received $50,000 bonuses.
Fight of the Night: No bonus awarded.
Performance of the Night: Stephen Thompson, Rob Font, Marcin Tybura, and Jimmy Flick