Prior to landing a stunning superman punch KO in the UFC Fight Night 148 main event, Anthony Pettis looked to be losing on points to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.
Bloodied but not beaten, Pettis knocked Thompson out cold with just five seconds to go in the second round, and according to head coach Duke Roufus, it was all part of the gameplan.
Roufus, head of Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said ‘Showtime’ executed the same knockout punch he drilled over and over again in training.
“For sure. 99 percent of it,” Roufus said when asked if that finishing blow was just like they drew it up, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “The last one percent was Anthony. He followed the game plan, we prepared together very well, but that was Anthony being Anthony at his best.
“He’s great at audibling and when he feels good and when he’s in the moment, he’s so dangerous. That was a surprise attack and he landed it and it was brilliant.”
Although Pettis looked to be accumulating a lot of damage early on, Roufus says the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion wasn’t too fazed by it and was ‘figuring Wonderboy out’ as the fight went on.
“Dana White and Sean Shelby came up to me after the fight and they observe the fights very carefully and they loved how Anthony was chopping Wonderboy down with the low kicks and that was the plan,” Roufus said. “The whole plan was to go five rounds and he was weathering the storm. Anthony prepared himself very well to be patient.
“That’s the thing in MMA, you get cut easy because you can’t put as much Vaseline on as you can in boxing, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. But he wasn’t hurt bad. He was breathing great in-between the first and second rounds, he was in great shape for the fight, and I wasn’t worried at all. I found him to be figuring Wonderboy out as the fight went on.”
With the win, Pettis became the first man to stop Thompson with strikes, so expect to see the striking dynamo storm into the top-five once the UFC updates its welterweight rankings.
Roufus, who has trained Pettis since he was a youngster, couldn’t be more proud of the former champ.
“I know he’s my guy, but I’ve got to pat him on the back,” he said. “The character he’s showed in the last two years of reinvigorating his career after — you know, we’ve had some really bad failures and it can break your soul. And he didn’t let it break him and here we are and I’m really proud of him for that. That took courage and guts and I just can’t say that enough, how proud I am of him.”