The UFC 143 preliminary fights on the promotion's Facebook page were an action-packed treat for fans willing to watch fights streamed over the Internet for free.
In the opener welterweight karate prodigy Stephen Thompson (6-0, 1-0 UFC) wowed with a first round finish of Dan Stittgen (7-2, 0-1 UFC) . Thompson, an undefeated kickboxer with a 57-0 record in striking competitions, started slow but quickly finished Stittgen once he opened up.
Thompson followed up a 1-2 punching combination with an amazing lead leg roundhouse over the top that started out with a fake to the leg. Stittgen had no idea it was coming. The referee stepped in to stop the fight at 4:13 of the first round, declaring it a TKO.
"No words can describe how I feel right now." Thompson said after the fight. "I'm beyond happy to have this win. It's my first win in the UFC and I can't wait to get back out there and do it again. I took my time and felt him out. GSP is my training buddy and before the fight he gave me some words of encouragement and told me to focus on what I am going to do and block everything else out. That was amazing advice and exactly what I did."
"I took the fight on late notice and didn't perform my best. I should have listened to my coach more. I'm very disappointed with what happened out there but I will certainly be back better," said Sittgen, a late notice substitute for Justin Edwards, after the fight.
In the second bout of the Facebook stream middleweights Rafael Natal (14-3-1, 2-1-1 UFC) beat Michael Kuiper (11-1, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a fight that would have been the Fight of the Night on many cards.
More on that fight after the jump.
Natal, a decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter who trains under the legendary Renzo Gracie, dominated Kuiper for the first two rounds but had to hang on to survive in the third. Kuiper, a decorated Judoka with the kickboxing expertise requisite for a Dutch fighter, hurt Natal in the final round but was unable to finish. Natal came back to end the round and the fight on top of Kuiper, working for an arm triangle choke but was unable to finish the Dutchman.
"Michael is a good fighter but I was better. I am very happy to pick up this win and that my family was watching. My jiu-jitsu saved me again," said Rafael Natal
"You never know what is going to happen when you fight. That was a very tough fight," said Michael Kuiper after the fight.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 143: