UFC 143 Results Recap: Stephen Thompson Vs. Dan Stittgen

Stephen Thompson deserved to strike a pose after his first round KO at UFC 143. (Photo: Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com)

The excitement level of UFC debuts seem to go either one way or another: really good or quite dull. In the opening bout of UFC 143 Saturday, two Octagon newbies set out to make it more the former than the latter with one succeeding mightily.

Stephen Thompson (6-0, 1-0 UFC) kept his professional and amateur fighting career undefeated with a first round knockout of Dan Stittgen (7-2, 0-1 UFC), thanks to Thompson's trusty right foot that found the side of Stittgen's head.

Thompson came into his UFC debut with a combined 57-0 pro/amateur kickboxing record with 46 knockouts and made himself known to MMA fans on the biggest stage in a hurry.

Thompson controlled the fight throughout, using a sideways stance and a variety of kicks to hold off Stittgen who seemed content to stand and throw leg kicks to counter. Thompson was calm in waiting for his opportunity and it came quickly and violently.

What was the high spot of this fight?

Without a doubt, it was the Thompson head kick that earned him $65,000 for Knockout Of The Night and a fight re-air on the FX portion of the show.

Where do these guys go from here?

Thompson earned himself a reprieve from the opening bout of an event to at least the FX/Fuel prelims on an upcoming show. As far as talent level, the UFC would be wise to pair him against another opponent with similar experience before jumping him up the chain. His pre-MMA experience might eventually warrant that, but patience is a virtue with a fighter like Thompson. Expect to see him in May on the third Fox show or UFC On FX 3.

Stittgen didn't do much to warrant a return engagement as he essentially acted as a sparring partner for Thompson. Why he decided to keep the fight standing against a high-level kickboxer is a mystery.

Watch it now, later or never?

Watch it now as the head kick was simply awesome.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit in the full entry.

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