“Wonderboy” faced off against “Showtime” as Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis tried to get their careers back on track in what was billed as an action fight. The bout headlined UFC: Nashville tonight (Saturday, March 23, 2019) from inside the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, only on ESPN+. If you don’t have ESPN+, you can sign up here for a seven-day free trial! Pettis, seemingly into the ‘action fights and paychecks’ stage of his career, was coming off an action loss to Tony Ferguson. Thompson was coming off a controversial decision loss to Darren Till that hadn’t seen much action. The matchup promised a chance for both men to get the time and space needed to get their kicking games going.
Thompson opened with a kick off Pettis’ arms, Pettis was pressuring forward, looking for his side kick to the body, while Pettis looked for his side kick to the lead knee. Pettis landed a body kick. Thompson avoided a right-left combination. Pettis landed another body kick. Thompson switched stances, jabbed. Pettis landed a big inside leg kick, then tried a lead hook kick that Thompson blocked. Side kick to the body from Thompson. Thompson threw up a body kick and Pettis returned with a leg kick. Pettis threw a couple body kicks, Thompson darted in looking for his signature blitz. Pettis stepped in and just missed a spinning hook kick. Thompson kicked, then stepped in with punches. He circled out and Pettis landed another leg kick. Another blitz by Thompson, Pettis threw a quick right hand. Thompson landed a spinning kick upstairs that Pettis partially blocked. They exchanged. Pettis landed another leg kick. Thompson landed a hook-cross and narrowly avoided Pettis’ return fire.
Thompson pivoted out with a hook. He threw up a couple high kicks. Pettis and he exchanged leg kicks. Thompson landed a body kick, jabbed and circled. He blocked a high kick from Pettis, then landed a lead hook kick. Two more leg kicks landed from Pettis. Thompson feinted and landed a lead sidekick to the body. Pettis’ nose was bleeding. They each landed leg kicks. Thompson switched stances and landed a stiff jab. Thompson glided away from Pettis’ punch, but ante another log kick. Thompson and Pettis exchanged rear straights. Thompson landed a cross-hook, Pettis landed another leg kick. Jab from Wonderboy, then a hook-cross. He tried to check a leg kick from Pettis. Jab from Showtime. Thompson landed a lead hook kick to the forehead, then another jab. Thompson was checking the leg kicks now. Pettis’ face was a mask of blood. Pettis landed a superman punch and Wonderboy went out cold! What a KO by Showtime! That came from nowhere! Anthony Pettis with the statement victory! That punch landed perfectly across Thompson’s chin, just as clean a knockout as Masvidal’s over Darren Till last weekend. Thompson was a good sport, congratulating Pettis with a rueful smile from the stool.
In the post-fight interview, Pettis said what excited him about Thompson had been his number 4 ranking, then shouted out the fans- “I wanna put on a show for everybody!” to loud cheers. He said he felt so good at 170, saying he wants RDA back, but wasn’t ruling out a return to 155 to face the winner of Barboza-Gaethje. Of the two, that second option sounds much more exciting, especially if it is Gaethje.
Official result: Anthony Pettis def. Stephen Thompson via KO (superman punch) at 4:55 of Round 2
Fight Night 148 results, including play-by-play, click here