The main event bout at UFC Nashville between Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Anthony ’Showtime’ Pettis was always likely to deliver something spectacular, but what we got on Saturday night may well have exceeded all our expectations.
Pettis was getting well beaten – and beaten up – by Thompson’s slicker striking, better control of range and incredible punch accuracy as ‘Wonderboy’ picked apart the former UFC and WEC lightweight world champion over one and three-quarter rounds.
But when he felt his back touch the cage fence, Pettis had an idea. He leant back and launched himself off the cage fence with one push of his foot. He flew through the air and connected with a perfect Superman punch that sent ‘Wonderboy’ crashing to the floor.
It was a clean KO and one of the best knockouts we’ve seen in the UFC so far this year.
— Bulgogi Jones (@Hamderlei) March 24, 2019
After the fight, Pettis called out an array of different potential opponents, both at lightweight and welterweight, before later saying: “I want to put on a show for everybody – that’s all I want to do.
“Come in, make everyone clap. They paid for the tickets, so I hope they enjoy the show.”
With a stunning KO like that, it’s a fair bet they all did…
CONTENDERS DELIVER STATEMENT VICTORIES
They may be at opposite ends of the UFC’s weight spectrum, but flyweight contender Jussier Formiga and heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes both made big statements in their respective divisions.
Brazilian Formiga handed fellow countryman Deveison Figueiredo the first defeat of his career, while American Blaydes totally shut down trash-talking KO artist Justin Willis.
Both men used their ground-fighting skills to get the job done, with Formiga’s grappling and Blaydes’ wrestling proving the difference-makers in their respective bouts.
And both men knew who they wanted to call out after their wins. Formiga called for a shot at UFC flyweight world champion Henry Cejudo, while Blaydes cast his net a little wider in his search for a title elimination bout.
‘THE FUTURE’ LOOKS BRIGHT
Maycee ‘The Future’ Barber wants to become the youngest UFC world champion in history, and she showed she might just have the smarts to go close after her win over JJ Aldrich.
Barber looked in trouble in the first round, as Aldrich seemingly couldn’t miss with her straight counter punches.
But Barber came back brilliantly in the second round to stop Aldrich in super-impressive fashion and show that she’s smart enough to learn and adjust mid-fight.
That sort of in-fight IQ is a rare thing indeed for someone so young, who admitted to Daniel Cormier after the fight that there’s still plenty more to come.
GIVE THE MAN HIS CAMO SHORTS…
Anyone who comes back from being drilled in the scrotum (and by that we mean actually drilled with an actual power drill) is already some sort of winner in our book. But simply returning to the octagon was never going to be enough for Bryce ‘Thug Nasty’ Mitchell.
The Ultimate Fighter graduate went back and forth with Bobby Moffett for three five-minute rounds in an exciting affair that seemed to be up for grabs right up to the final moments of the fight.
Mitchell took the opening round, but Moffett claimed the second, leaving the bout on a knife-edge heading into the third and final round. Despite suffering an early takedown, Mitchell turned the tables and came close to finishing Moffett with one of a succession of rear-naked choke attempts.
In the end, it went to the scorecards, with all three giving the bout to ‘Thug Nasty’ 29-28 before he used his post-fight interview to declare his love for his home state of Arkansas and demanding a set of camo-print shorts from UFC outfitters Reebok…
‘CHITO’ WANTS ‘THE PROSPECT’
Ecuadorian bantamweight contender Marlon Vera starched Frankie Saenz early in the first round, then called for a fight with Brit Nathaniel Wood. Vera stunned Saenz with a jab, then finished his man with ground strikes to extend his winning run to three in a row – all by finish.
And knowing that Brit Wood wants to avenge Vera’s KO win over his mentor Brad Pickett, ‘Chito’ called for that matchup. Wood also impressed hugely with his recent win at UFC London, meaning both men are in prime position to face off in a battle of rising stars at 135lbs.
It’s a matchup that makes 100% sense for both men, and would make for an outstanding potential fight for later this summer.
THE ACCA LANDED!
It looked as if we were set for a clean sweep of successful picks this week, but Pettis’ Superman punch put paid to that.
But, our four-fight 6/1 accumulator delivered the goods, with all our picks claiming the W on fight night.
MAIN CARD RESULTS
Anthony Pettis def Stephen Thompson (KO, Round 2)
Curtis Blaydes def Justin Willis (unanimous decision)
John Makdessi def Jesus Pinedo (unanimous decision)
Jussier Formiga def Deiveson Figueiredo (unanimous decision)