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.
- UFC 143 Results: Dana White Talks Carlos Condit's Next Fight, Nick Diaz' Retirement - Josh Nason
- UFC 143 Results: Mike Pierce Tolls A Warning Bell For Josh Koscheck Like He Did For Jon Fitch - Kid Nate
- UFC 143 Results: Nick Diaz Vs. Carlos Condit Event Fight Video Highlights - Anton Tabuena
- UFC 143 Results: The Career Of UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit - Fraser Coffeen
- UFC 143 Results: Sunday Morning Perspective - T.P. Grant
- UFC 143 Results: Does Fabricio Werdum's Mauling Of Roy Nelson Mean He's Ready To Contend In The UFC? - Kid Nate
- UFC 143 Results Video: Dana White Talks Condit Vs. Diaz, Koscheck Vs. Fitch, More At Post-Fight Scrum - Kid Nate
- UFC 143 Results: Carlos Condit, Gameplanning And The MMA Fan - Brent Brookhouse
- UFC 143 Results: Carlos Condit And Greg Jackson Solved Nick Diaz - Kid Nate
- UFC 143 Results: Winners, Losers, And Other Thoughts - Matthew Roth
- UFC 143 Results: Thompson, Poirier, Werdum And Nelson Take Home $65,000 Fight Night Bonuses - Kid Nate
- UFC 143: Condit vs. Diaz Full Fight Video Highlights - Brent Brookhouse
- UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Results And Post-Fight Analysis - Brent Brookhouse
- UFC 143 Results: Judges' Score Cards From Carlos Condit Vs. Nick Diaz - Kid Nate
- Nick Diaz: 'I'm Outta This S**t', Retires From MMA After UFC 143 Loss To Carlos Condit - Kid Nate
- UFC 143 Results: Carlos Condit Wins Interim Welterweight Title Over Nick Diaz In Thrilling Affair - Tim Burke
- Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 132: UFC 143 Results Review - Matt Bishop
- UFC 143 Post-Fight Press Conference Video And Coverage - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Fabricio Werdum Beats Up Roy Nelson, Takes Unanimous Decision - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Josh Koscheck Picks Up Razor-Thin Split Decision Victory Over Mike Pierce - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Renan Barao Takes Unanimous Decision Over Scott Jorgensen - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Ed Herman Submits Clifford Starks In Round Two - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Dustin Poirier Submits Max Holloway - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Edwin Figueroa Beats Alex Cacares By Split Decision In Weird Fight - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Matt Brown Stops Chris Cope In The Second Round - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Matt Riddle Picks Up Split Decision Victory Over Henry Martinez - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Rafael Natal Wins Unanimous Decision Over Michael Kuiper - Tim Burke
- UFC 143 Results: Stephen Thompson Knocks Out Dan Stittgen With Deadly Head Kick - Tim Burke
- UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Live Results And Play-By-Play For PPV Main Card - Brent Brookhouse
- UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Live Results And Play-By-Play For Undercard Fights - Brent Brookhouse