One moment, Stephen Thompson appeared on his way to a 20-18 lead on the scorecards against Anthony Pettis. The next, he was out cold courtesy of a spectacular Superman punch from “Showtime” that ended the UFC Nashville main event with five seconds left in round two.
Thompson did not attend post-fight media events, as he was taken to a nearby hospital immediately following the knockout loss. Instead, “Wonderboy” discussed his defeat in a Facebook Live video.
“I don’t even remember a dang thing,” he said. “All I just remember is punching him in the face, his nose bleeding, and then I wake up in the back. ... But I’m okay, everything’s good.”
Thompson had never been finished in 17 previous professional MMA bouts – including two matchups with heavy-handed former champion Tyron Woodley. According to the South Carolina native, his streak of durability also dates back to his kickboxing career. Pettis was making his first career appearance at 170 pounds after competing at lightweight and featherweight in his earlier UFC bouts.
“Crap happens, you know? It happens, especially when you’re in this sport long enough.” “After 80 fights I’ve never been KO’d – this time by a small guy,” Thompson said. “I can’t believe he got me with the Superman punch. Golly. Superman off the cage. It was so ninja I didn’t even see it coming.”
Thompson said he felt pretty good leading up to the knockout. According to UFCStats.com figures, “Wonderboy” outlanded Pettis by a 47-to-32 count in significant strikes. Thompson has won just once in his last five UFC bouts.
“I was piecing him up with the jab,” Thompson said. “I was trying to break his arms with the roundhouse kick. I guess the side kicks, I switched over too much. His punches were slow. The heck? I don’t remember anything. Next thing I knew I was in the back wondering what happened.”