A highlight-reel headkick knockout in his UFC debut over Dan Stittgen has Stephen Thompson making heads turn at UFC 143.
Thompson is a karate master, and the cliche "Karate Kid" has drawn some comparisons to former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. Those might be big comparisons and big expectations, but Thompson displayed some excellent striking tonight against Stittgen.
Thompson is 28 years old and is now 6-0 in his professional MMA career. Outside the Octagon, Thompson has won numerous kickboxing titles and holds a professional record of 56-0 with 39 knockouts in kickboxing.
His striking is great and its scary to think what he'll be like by next year or even by the end of this year in his standup. To knock out Stittgen, Thompson threw a fake lowkick that ended up being a headkick to win.
It was dazzling, it was creative and it was awesome to hit every hyperbole I could possibly hit.
Thompson also holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and that ground game will help with the numerous wrestlers in the welterweight division.
Not many guys make it from the undercard to the top of their respective divisions. With Thompson, though, it could be different and he will be a force in the UFC.
His aforementioned striking make him a threat to pretty much everybody standing in his way this year, and we have yet to see his ground game, which could turn out to be something dazzling.
It is too early to claim this, but hey, he proved something out there tonight.