Stephen Thompson proved he still has ambitions to win a championship after his dominant performance against Kevin Holland in the main event of UFC Fight Night, but other competitors from Orlando, Florida, found ways to shine too. Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim look at the most memorable moments of an action-packed night in Florida.
“Wonderboy” isn’t really an adult any more. In fact, he’s not been for a long time. However, this version of Stephen Thompson, as the attractive striker is approaching his 40th birthday, is of great significance in the UFC.
On Saturday night , in the main event at UFC Orlando, Thompson beat Kevin Holland via fourth-round TKO in one of the most exciting fights. It was a tense and roller-coaster fight which saw both fighters get injured, and then fight back until the smooth skilled Thompson ended up being too much for Holland who was injured on his hand in the first round. Holland’s trainer Bob Perez waved things off in the fifth and last round.
Thompson was able to throw a variety of tricks with his legs, ranging from hook kicks , crescent kicks and liver kicks. He may even have strike Holland by using Shawn Michaels’ “Sweet Chin Music” at one time. It was difficult to keep track of it. Holland was, however, caught Thompson in the opening round using a similar straight right cross that resembled a piston and kept the action going regardless of the hand issue.
All of this is to suggest Thompson’s imminent death was greatly exaggerated. In reality, it’s all about the match-ups. If Wonderboy continues to put on shows like this and is able to keep it up, there’s no reason why that he can’t participate in UFC Fight Night main events similar to this or on pay-per view main cards at least once each year. Thompson said he thinks he’s only 25 years old of age in his post-fight interview, however, since it’s the same.
The trick is to find the best opponents. Wonderboy against Holland was a genius move by the matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard. Holland always wants to fight and never wishes to wrestle or grapple and is always willing to engage in a fight. For Holland it was the perfect opponent that could not only revive Thompson and his team, but also to be the first Wonderboy opponent to be defeated by an KO/TKO in the history of Johny Hendricks (remember his name?) in the year 2016.
It is possible to argue that Thompson has put himself back to the top of the list by winning. Perhaps, but what’s the purpose? At the top, the division of welterweight packed with a number of brutal wrestlers, including Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Khamzat Chimaev. Thompson is already beaten by Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns who both had success in crushing Wonderboy out of the ring with grappling and wrestling. Also, Usman, Covington and Chimaev are far better wrestlers as Muhammad as well as Burns.
The path ahead for Thompson is likely to be a thrilling one, just like the fight with Holland. There are many up-and-coming strikers in the UFC will use against Wonderboy to check if they are able to be able to hang. Who wouldn’t love to have Thompson taking on Michel Pereira or Jack Della Maddalena? In fact, why not make fights against Wonderboy or Philip Rowe, who had an impressive victory in the fight against Niko Price in the ring on Saturday? The likes of Ian Garry and Michael Morales may be waiting in waiting room for an opportunity as well.
If Thompson is able to fend off some of these hungry, young beasts, you could push him into the big contest. However, for the moment, Wonderboy should not be placed within 100 feet of an opponent. Give the man strikers food and enjoy memorable performances such as the one on Saturday night continue to happen.
Thompson is friendly, charming as well as a popular fan. He when he’s faced with the right opponent in the Octagon Thompson is among the top exciting fighters around the globe. Thompson remains one of the top world-class welterweights. But is putting him up against a top five contender the best way to use an almost 40-year-old Wonderboy? It’s probably not.
Let’s keep it upbeat. And on the dance floor. Thompson can beat someone by playing Sweet Chin Music one of these days.