There are some connections some may not know
between two top MMA contenders,
Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis.
The two meet up in a UFC match-up at UFC
Fight Night 148 in Nashville, Tennessee this Saturday night. Lets
look at how they compare and the similarities between the two.
To begin with, Anthony Pettis' trainer is former IKF World Champion and IKF
Kickboxing / Muay Thai Promoter
Duke Roufus of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There's
actually a Thompson - Pettis connection here...
Thompson's last high profile fight was against another
Duke Roufus fighter, Tyron Woodley. As many noticed after their
first meeting, which ended in a draw, Woodley had a major chip on his
shoulder. As one fan put it, "He is in constant tug of war with
himself." The majority watching had Thompson winning the fight,
so a rematch was inevitable.
In the rematch, Woodley squeaked out a close majority
decision victory, 48-47, 47-47 and 48-47. To many, because it was so close,
fight fans were hoping to see a Woodley vs Thompson 3, but it
would never be.
Eight months after their meeting, Thompson defeated Jorge
Masvidal by unanimous decision. After Masvidal Thompson was once
again met with bad luck, bad judging, controversy, whatever fight fans want to
call it when he meet Darren Till of England, in England.
To begin with, Till missed weight coming in 3.5 lbs
over the contracted max weight limit. Thompson had no desire to travel
back home after coming all the way to England so he accepted the bout anyway.
When all was said and done, the MMA media and critics called it some of the
worst judging in MMA they had ever seen as the England judges gave the bout to
Till by unanimous decision, 48-47, 49-46, 49-46.
Thompson hasn't fought since then so he's basically
coming off a 9-10 month layoff.
Woodley fought 4 months after facing Thompson,
defeating Demian Maia by unanimous decision. However, after seeing Thompson
had lost to Darren Till in England, Woodley wanted to fight
Till. Seeing what happened to Thompson, Woodley made it clear he didn't
want to fight Till in England and have the same fate happen to him that
Thompson was delt. Instead, they fought in Dallas Texas where Woodley
would not let this one go to the judges anyway as he defeated Darren Till
in round 2 by D'Arce choke submission.
Woodley took 6 months off before facing Kamaru
Usman at UFC 35 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sadly for Woodley,
Usman defeated him by unanimous decision and with the win, took
Woodley's UFC Title.
So who gets the next shot at Kamaru Usman and the UFC
Title? Well, UFC has chosen to weed out the top contenders first.
Here we are, this weekend looking at a welterweight bout
between former two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson and former
WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis (21-7).
However, this bout has an interesting tie in, and not just the one about
Thompson facing 2 Duke Roufus opponents within a year.
The majority of MMA fans who know Thompson's also know
his Karate background, simply because that's all everyone talked about when he
came into the UFC. Thompson started training at age of 3 and first
competed in kickboxing and karate at the age of 15. He holds Black belt ranks in
Tetsushin-ryu Kempo, American Kickboxing and Jujutsu. He studies
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlos Machado who is also his
brother-in-law. As a Kickboxer Thompson had an overall amateur and
professional record of
58-0 before turning his focus to MMA.
However few may be aware that Pettis has also trained
in Karate. Pettis started training in Taekwondo and boxing at
the age of 5 and now holds a 3rd degree Black belt in Taekwondo as well
as a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has also trained in the
Martial Art known as Capoeira and in Muay Thai.
One of Pettis best highlights is when he ran or jumped
up on the cage fencing and did a flying kick off the cage to hit Benson
Henderson with a head kick. Some claimed it was staged by both fighters, but
that's an easy claim by critics who can't do such a move in the first place.
Many others say the move enhanced his nickname, Anthony "Showtime"
Pettis. - CLICK HERE.
The jump off the cage kick is not the only unique move for Pettis.
He also has a cartwheel kick which has also become a trademark of his. This is
all part of his surprise style of fighting which in many ways like Thompson,
includes lots of he will often set-ups and fakes as well as dropping his hands
and even sometimes dropping on purpose to his hands and knees to make himself
look like he's at a disadvantage and then counter with something like a sitting
kick to his opponent.
With both having vast experience in well known "High
Kick" martial art styles, fight fans are hoping to see some explosive
kicking skills from both fighters. However to add, Pettis is returning
to Welterweight for the first time since 2008 to face Thompson so many
are asking Why come up in weight? Does this work to Thompson's
advantage? So far, a lot of folks are saying so. However, Pettis and
Roufus must know something we don't cause neither of them would openly
accept a fight, going in as an underdog... Lets not forget what one MMA site
"UFC matchmaking has taken new dimensions in the
advancing age of social media. Following a social media exchange between Anthony
Pettis, who asked the fans if he should entertain a move up to welterweight to
fight "Wonderboy", and the latter welcoming the offer, ESPN's Ariel
Helwani has reported that a fight between the two has been verbally confirmed."
It seem's Pettis' coach, Duke Roufus though was the one who
started the talkin when he went to instagram and posted;
coachdukeroufus Roufusport MMA Academy
tall are you? So I can know in advance how far to step back when you fall down!"
One of my Favorite Pictures and Wins for @twooodley vs Wonder Boy because
everyone said you couldn't. I am grateful for my father teaching & coaching
me Karate, Tae Kwon Do and old school PKA Full Contact Karate/American
Kickboxing. I also competed in Sport Karate from age 6-18 years old along with
numerous years of being a nationally ranked fighter.
My 1st 4 years of
Kickboxing Fights were under American Kickboxing Rules and my oldest brother
Rick is one of the greatest Champions ever in that rule style.
I am excited
to test our Martial Arts Skill Sets @showtimepettis I got your back with the
play book and experience
Pettis' last fight in the Octagon resulted in a "Fight
of the year" candidate with him being on the losing end. A loss to Tony
Ferguson by TKO (corner stoppage) at UFC 229 this past
October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As for trash talkin, it was clear in the Thompson - Woodley
bouts, Woodley was the one talkin,
here for a Heated Argument of Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson UFC 209
) and after their first match-up, he had very little, if anything respectful to
say about Thompson. As for Thompson, he continued to be polite
and show respect for Woodley as he has for every person he meets and or
fights. Thompson gave Woodley far more respect in a game where
outrageous actions like those of Conor McGregor seem to make far more
headlines over doing good things as Thompson has been accustom to as an
instructor at his families martial arts school.
Ray Thompson isn't much of a "Smack Talker"
either. More of a man of few words and lots of action when it comes to the fight
game. The family owns and operates the largest martial arts school in South
Carolina ( Upstate
Karate ) with somewhere around 8 or 900 students. The growth and
success of their operation is obvious as they just recently broke ground on a
new "Mega" Martial Arts school to move to once completed.
Both trainers have had success in their own careers and their
work ethic shows in the fighters they produce. Come Saturday night, their will
once again be little talk out of the Thompson camp and although Pettis
himself is a soft spoken martial artist, there's no doubt he will have plenty in
his entourage that will speak loudly for him. Grab some popcorn boys and
girls, this should be an exciting display of some excellent martial art