Former light-weight champion Anthony Pettis made a superhero splash in his welterweight debut Saturday, knocking out two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson with a Superman counterpunch with 5 seconds left within the second spherical of the primary occasion of UFC Combat Evening at Bridgestone Enviornment in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pettis, who along with as soon as reigning at 155 kilos has additionally fought at 145, grew to become simply the third fighter to win in these UFC weight lessons and 170 kilos, becoming a member of Kenny Florian and Conor McGregor.
Pettis (22-Eight), who got here in having misplaced 5 of his eight bouts since dropping his light-weight belt in 2015, was getting lit up for a lot of this putting battle, with Thompson’s crisp jabs turning his face right into a bloody mess.
“He was catching me together with his jab, and I knew he had the vary on me,” Pettis mentioned. “I used to be attempting to beat him up with low kicks. I knew I used to be hurting his again leg, and that is what arrange the proper hand.”
Thompson (14-Four-1), a former karate and kickboxing specialist who now has received simply one in all his previous 5 fights, had been utilizing fluid motion to maintain the struggle at his most popular distance for the higher a part of two rounds.
However then, simply seconds earlier than the Spherical 2 horn was to sound, he ploddingly closed the gap and paid the worth. Pettis, whose background is in taekwondo, sprung away from the cage and knocked out Thompson with one large proper hand.
Daniel Cormier reacts to Anthony Pettis’ knockout of Stephen Thompson and teases his curiosity in a struggle with Brock Lesnar.
Thompson suffered the primary knockout lack of his profession.
“I used to be piecing him up with the jab, I used to be attempting to interrupt his arms with the roundhouse kick, man. And with the sidekicks, I assume I did not flip my hip over sufficient, and he simply drilled me with a proper hand,” Thompson mentioned in a stay video on his Fb web page after the struggle. “After 80 fights, I’ve by no means been KO’d. That is the primary time, and from a small man, like a 155’er.
“I can not imagine he obtained me with the Superman [punch].”
Afterward, Pettis was in no rush to determine what weight he would struggle at subsequent.
“I do not wish to struggle nobody behind me, particularly at light-weight,” he mentioned. “That is why I used to be like, ‘Let’s transfer up. The outcomes present.’ The load minimize was killing me at 145, 155. Now [at] 170, I would higher be within the high 10, bro.”
Pettis mentioned he would really like a rematch with the person who took his light-weight title from him, Rafael Dos Anjos, who now competes as a welterweight. However then Pettis got here up with a fair higher thought for UFC president Dana White, pointing to a top-10 light-weight struggle going down subsequent Saturday.
“If Dana needs to offer it to me, the winner of [Edson] Barboza and [Justin] Gaethje, I am prepared,” he mentioned.