Heading into UFC Fight Night 82 most people were picking Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (17-4) to beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomspon (12-1). With a win Hendricks would have kept his hopes of a title shot alive. Well apparently Thompson didn’t get the memo and had plans of his own on Saturday night.
Thompson came out and almost immediately looked to establish distance by using his karate style kicking game. It definitely worked because after the very first kick landed it was obvious Johny Hendricks didn’t have an answer.
Hendricks was able to close the distance once but it resulted in an unsuccessful takedown attempt. That seemed to take all the confidence right out of “Bigg Rigg” and it was the beginning of the end. Thompson set the tone with kicks and then landed some really nice combinations with his hands that kept Hendricks constantly guessing as to what was coming next.
There was less than two minutes left on the clock in the first round when Thompson landed a spinning back kick to the body of Hendricks while he was against the cage and that was all it took. “Wonderboy” landed a few more punches before the referee was forced to jump in and stop the fight.
Although Hendricks is the former UFC champion it was Thompson who looked like a champion at UFC Fight Night 82. Once Thompson smelled blood he never took his foot off the gas. It remains to be seen as to how Thompson will handle an opponent who can get him to the ground. But until then it’s tough to argue that with a six fight winning streak in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions Stephen Thompson isn’t deserving of a title shot, or at the very least a number one contender fight with fellow welterweight Tyron Woodley(15-3).
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Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer