Stephen Fulton was supposed to fight Angelo Leo this past summer, but as so many others have experienced during the pandemic, Fulton was diagnosed with Covid-19. Leo ended up fighting replacement opponent Tramaine Williams for the vacant 122-pound title and putting together an impressive performance to win it. Now, Fulton has his chance at Leo and at the junior featherweight belt he holds, and he couldn’t be more excited. Here’s everything you need to know about Stephen Fulton vs. Angelo Leo, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
For Fulton, it’s an opportunity to reclaim the opportunity he lost when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus in July.
“We’re always ready to make adjustments, but I believe I’m much better than if I had fought in August,” Fulton said during a recent press conference. “From losing that opportunity and now coming back, it’s made me better physically, mentally and emotionally. … Going through the experience of having the fight against Leo canceled just changed my mindset. I felt like I lost everything. It made me train even harder. I took that rage and anxiety and used it every day in training. I’m just ready to fight.”
So is Leo. And he still feels he has something to prove. Although he won the title handily by beating Williams by unanimous decision five months ago, Fulton is still the betting favorite and the bigger name for Saturday’s fight. Leo doesn’t seem to mind.
“Being champion is something that I always wanted to be so now that I have the belt, I have the confidence I need,” Leo said. “But I don’t take my foot off the gas just because I’m champion. They say that once you’re champion, it’s actually harder. As bad as you want it, now everybody else wants it just as bad as you do. My mentality is the same now that I’m world champion and I’m gunning for more world championships. I’m not the hunted. I’m still hunting.”
Here’s more info on the Stephen Fulton vs. Angelo Leo showdown that U.S. viewers can watch on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Conor McGregor And UFC 257: By The Numbers
U.S. To Spend $2.1 Billion On GlaxoSmithKline-Sanofi Covid-19 Vaccine
3 Green Bay Packers That Could Be X-Factors In NFC Title Game
Stephen Fulton vs. Angelo Leo odds
In this case, the defending titlist is the underdog, as Leo is +125, meaning you’d win $125 on a $100 bet. Fulton, meanwhile, is a -165 favorite, which means you’d have to wager $165 to earn $100. But Leo is OK with it. “I’ve been an underdog before,” he said. “I’ve been in these shoes before, so it’s no surprise to me. It just gives me more fuel for the fire. I’m not at all offended that he’s the favorite.”
Oddsmakers certainly aren’t expecting a knockout here (and if you look at their knockout percentages listed below, you’ll understand why). It’s -350 to wager on the fight lasting the distance (+250 for it to end early). But if you wanted to find any kind of value, you could take Fulton to win by decision at +130. Or if you’re really rooting for a stoppage, you could get Leo at +800. A draw at +1200 also might not be a bad play.
Stephen Fulton vs. Angelo Leo records
Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) might not have any victories against A-plus opponents, but he’s certainly beaten his fair share of undefeated fighters. In his 18 victories, Fulton has beaten seven fighters who had never lost before. Leo could make undefeated fighter No. 8.
Before knocking off the then-undefeated Williams, Leo had never beaten a fighter of that caliber. But Fulton is even better than Williams. So, once again, Leo will have to beat the best opponent of his career to defend his belt. Leo’s record is 20-0 with nine knockouts.
Stephen Fulton vs. Angelo Leo prediction
Before Leo beat Williams for the title, I would have predicted that Fulton would cruise by Leo with relative ease. I’m not so sure now. It’ll be 363 days since Fulton stepped into the ring, and if he’s rusty with his jab, that could give Leo an opening to effectively pressure Fulton and to land hard shots on the inside. Ultimately, I think Fulton is more talented, and ultimately, that will lead him to victory by close decision. Say somewhere in the 116-112 range.