Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Coming into UFC 145 Matt Brown was a more than 2-1 underdog to Stephen Thompson according to most oddsmakers. The journeyman Brown, a veteran of nearly a dozen UFC bouts wasn't expected to have an answer for the undefeated Thompson's flashy kenpo karate style.
So much for that.
Brown was able to repeatedly take Thompson down and impose his will -- and a heck of a beating -- on the hapless kareteka for most of the first round. Despite Thompson's pre-fight talk of a karate-renaissance in MMA, Brown-Thompson looked like something we might have seen in the early days of the UFC: a skilled traditional martial artist struggling to adjust when the fight goes to the ground.
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In the second Thompson showed that the hype wasn't entirely unfounded as he managed to stay on his feet and batter Brown with punches. But it wasn't enough to overcome Brown's advantage on the ground and in the third, Brown caught Thompson with a standing elbow that hurt Thompson and let Brown take over the rest of the fight.
"Coach said he he touches your face, smash his, if he touches your bones, go for his body and I did it. Every fight is it's own thing. Happy to get the win but I haven't had a vacation since I started in UFC. I probably will turn the vacation into something other than that but my wife deserves it. She's home with the kids and needs a break too," Brown said after the fight.
Time will tell if the 29-year-old Thompson will be able to make the necessary improvements to his takedown defense and grappling games to compete at the UFC level successfully, but it's clear he's got his work cut out for him.
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