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Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis are both technically sound fighters, and their meeting in the main event at UFC Fight Night 148 could be a technically precise matchup between two men who know how to use their feet. But make no mistake: The Thompson vs. Pettis fight, which you can live stream for free Saturday on ESPN+, could also be a quick-strike, quick-knockout kind of evening.
Though he’s a former lightweight champion, Pettis is the underdog because he’s moving up from 155 pounds to the 170-pound welterweight class to challenge Thompson. But Pettis (21-7) is coming off an exhilarating fight vs. Tony Ferguson, and though he lost by TKO after the second round because of a broken hand, his reputation was enhanced by that bloody bout.
Here’s everything you need to know what the UFC Fight Night 148 live stream for free.
UFC Fight Night 148: Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
- When: Saturday, March 23, at 8pm ET
- Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville
- Streaming: ESPN+ (free with one-week trial)
Thompson vs. Pettis live stream: How to watch UFC Fight Night for free
ESPN+ has been a great boon to boxing fans, but UFC fans also have plenty of reasons to rejoice for ESPN’s new subscription service. In May 2018, ESPN signed a $1.5 billion deal with the UFC to stream 30 UFC Fight Night events per year. Twenty of those are earmarked for ESPN+, including the Thompson vs. Pettis card. It was also announced this week that UFC PPVs will be exclusively shown on ESPN+, and if you order a UFC PPV through ESPN+, you’ll receive a free year of the service. That’s an incredible deal.
ESPN+ is the least expensive way to stream boxing and UFC on a monthly basis. After a free one-week trial, it only costs subscribers $4.99 per month or $49.99 for the entire year—and you can cancel at any time. But thanks to those free seven days, you can stream Thompson vs. Pettis without paying a dime.
ESPN+ is basically an extension of the main ESPN app, and along with boxing and MMA, it shows a number of other live sports you don’t normally see on ESPN TV, in addition to other original programming. You can stream NHL games, along with thousands of college sports broadcasts, domestic and international soccer matches, and the entire catalog of 30 for 30 documentaries. The ESPN+ exclusive content is designated by the “E+” logo in the corner of the preview tile.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis: Why it matters
Pettis has to build onto his body a significant amount of weight to try to match Thompson (14-3-1), a world-class kickboxer who has been out for nearly a year after suffering a knee injury. Thompson is a -440 favorite, meaning you’d have to wager $440 to win $100 on a Thompson victory, but he’s not overlooking the smaller Pettis.
“He’s no joke on the ground,” Thompson told MMA Weekly. “He’s a high-level grappler. I think a lot of people underestimate that. I do have to be careful.”
Thompson, aka Wonderboy, is 36 years old, and he runs the risk of being rusty in the ring. But he went 58-0 as a kickboxer, and Pettis has only won two of his last seven fights. And, of course, there’s the size difference.
“The size difference I think is going to be the overwhelming factor in the fight,” MMA welterweight Jon Fitch said, via Bloody Elbow. “Anthony Pettis has fought at 145 [pounds]. It doesn’t seem like a smart move. How much time did he take to put on the 10 or 15 pounds needed to move up? He is fighting a bigger guy at a higher weight class. It doesn’t seem like it is going to end well for Pettis.”
UFC Fight Night 148 live stream schedule
Main card | 8pm ET on ESPN+
- Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis
- John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo
- Jussier Formiga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
- Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson
- Maycee Barber vs J.J. Aldrich
Prelims | 5pm ET on ESPN+
- Bryce Mitchell vs. Bobby Moffett
- Marlon Vera vs. Frankie Saenz
- Alexis Davis vs. Jennifer Maia
- Randa Markos vs. Angela Hill
- Ryan MacDonald vs. Chris Gutierrez
- Eric Shelton vs. Jordan Espinosa
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Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.