I’ve not written about da fights in a while. Rather than try to write a whole article, I really just want to make some notes so I can remember what happened. Back in 2004-5, it was easy to remember what happened in a show, or who beat whom. Now, there’s pretty much a show a week, and everyone is beating everyone else.
So in this one, I was very surprised that Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson suffered his first ever knockout defeat against an Anthony “Showtime” Pettis who was making his welterweight debut after a career spent at lighter weights. Watching the fight, you could see that Thompson was not only the naturally bigger man, but was using his modified karate style to strike Pettis pretty much at will from distance.
After the best part of two rounds of Thompson dominance, Pettis defended a side kick from Wonderboy before hurling a superman punch right into his mush. At first it looked like he’d used the cage wall as a springboard, but his own momentum was enough to send Thompson flying, before a bit of ground and pound finished the job.
The drama of the finish was quite surprising when you consider Thompson has lost to Tyron Woodley and Darren Till without being separated from his consciousness, but there you go. Maybe he’d had one too many blows to the chin over the years. Or maybe, as Wonderboy himself surmised, the accuracy combined with their positions to brew a perfect storm. Either way, Pettis returned to his tradition of finishing opponents, and looks like a decent prospect at the weight – even if he didn’t outperform Wonderboy for the duration.
What else happened in this show? Co-main was a heavyweight Curtis Blaydes using his wrestling to control fat guy Justin Willis and, well, pretty much nothing else. Man, how did Willis beat Motion Mark The Duster Hunt?! He had nothing for Blaydes. And while Blaydes did what he had to in order to get the win, it didn’t seem like he was going for a finish. After getting mashed to a pulp by the terrifying Francis Ngannou in November, he may have been a bit gunshy. Conversely, he should have tried to look good in his rebound fight.
Elsewhere, John Makdessi walked out to ‘Breathe’ by the Prodigy en route to beating Jesus Pinedo. Ledge.
The other key fact was Maycee Barber continuing to look impressive at age 20. After killing Hannah Cifers stone dead in November, she overcame some adversity courtesy of JJ Aldrich by stopping her in fine style with a nasty looking elbows and fists combo. One to watch, for sure.
Main players: Anthony Pettis and Maycee Barber.