Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson, UFC Fight Night, 6 February 2016
Performance of the Night
Precision, accuracy, control, distance. These are thing that make Stephen Thompson one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. He doesn’t rely on brawling, he doesn’t rely on aggression, he doesn’t rely on power. Stephen is all about controlling the distance, watching for openings, and then coming in with deadly and destructive strikes.
This fighting style makes Stephen Thompson an incredibly satisfying fighter to watch. He is able to face some of the most dangerous, power, and aggressive fighters, yet completely control the fight and minimize the damage against him.
Stephen first burst on the UFC scene as a young hopeful with his phenomenal knockout of Dan Stittgen. He carries on the legacy of Lyoto Machida in showing the world how dangerous Karate can be when used in the cage. Since that knockout, Stephen has been approaching his career and building a legacy of his own with patience and planning. He earned his first big lesson in a loss to Matt Brown. He only fights two times each year but he make sure those times count.
In the beginning of 2014, Stephen Thompson takes on Robert Whittaker. Robert won the The Ultimate Fighter Australia and was considered another young hopeful that could potentially become a UFC star. Robert’s background was also in Karate but he uses it very different from the way Stephen used it. Stephen finished him in the first round.
Stephen’s next fight was against the Canadian UFC veteran Patrick Cote. Officially on the books, Stephen won the fight via unanimous decision. But there was nothing unanimous about the fight at all. Stephen was able to control where the fight went and control the distance. He slowly picked Patrick apart with accurate kicks and punches. Doing that to an experienced fighter like Patrick served as an announcement to the fight world. This is a new generation of Stephen Thomspon and he was beginning of his climb to the top of the division.
Stephen’s next challenge was Jake Ellenberger. Jake was once the incredible Juggernaut that blasted through the welterweight division. With wins over Diego Sanchez, Nate Marquardt, Mike Pyle, and Jake Shields. Jake was once considered championship material. Jake has recently fallen on hard times. Back to back losses against some of the elite in the division shows that Jake might not be able to hang with the upper echelon of fighters. But that doesn’t mean Jake isn’t a dangerous and crafty guy. With his strong wrestling style and his power, he poses a huge threat to Stephen Thompson. Unfortunately for the fight fans around the world, we don’t get to see the fighters test their limits against each other. Stephen knocked him out with a spinning heel kick in the first round.
It’s been more than 6 months since his fight with Jake Ellenberger. Now Stephen is facing one of the most dangerous fighters in the world. Johny Hendricks has power in both hands and has sent his opponents flying across the ring with one punch. Johny Hendricks has excellent wrestling that can’t be stopped and fighters will very likely end up on their back. This is for sure the biggest challenges in Stephen’s career.
The results was a beautifully executed Stephen Thompson fight. Keeping the distance, avoiding the take down, controlling the fight. Finally precision kicks that caught Johny off guard. Deadly accurate punches that penetrated Johny’s defense. Placement and angels that frustrated Johny to the point where we see Johny rushing to engage, as if already in desperation mode.
A dangerous style with beautiful execution. Stephen Thompson’s style is so effective that we have yet to see him tested in a blood and brawl battle of heart and conviction. But until he faces that demon, the welterweight division better be on notice. Stephen Thompson isn’t coming, he’s here.
Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson full fight video