Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boy Wonder On FX (No Wires Included)

Will Wonderboy add Brown to his KO highlight reel?
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(for more original artwork: www.brettwoodillustration.com)

In the Hollywood world, martial arts movie stars always make the choreography of fighting look easy and dazzling. First, they defeat 10 or more goons with high-flying acrobatics before toppling the main thug with a mean punch or kick. They always make it look easy and efficient. Unfortunately, in the real world, this dance is not easily performed against a fighter who has no such script or director to follow. But every now and then, a fighter comes along with equal style and substance.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will get more exposure this Saturday on the FX card, which will precede the pay-per-view on UFC 145. In his last outing, Thompson’s karate kicks made the oohs and aahs of the audiences a part of his symphony of kicks. He capped off his performance with a swift, stunning right kick to the head of opponent Dan Stittgen, who suffered his first kayo loss as an MMA fighter. The kick was as effective as it was sudden. Stittgen was out cold before Thompson’s right foot touched reached the canvas. It was the kind of highlight reel kayo, which elicited even more oohs and aahs when watched on instant replay.

And if Thompson’s first-round kayo wasn’t enough, Thompson topped his performance with a celebration-of-the-night-flip. While not as crazy as Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett’s back flips from the top of the cage, it was equally as impressive and very original. Simply described as a body-twisting, front-flip with Thompson landing and resting in a samurai crouch/kneel position, imaginary katana in place at his side. For those still a bit perplexed by the description, Youtube is better at show than tell.

While Thompson is indeed coming off an impressive UFC debut he’s not just another undefeated, hyped fighter who just started knocking people out. Thompson boasts an undefeated amateur and professional kickboxing record of 63-0. And as many UFC fighters learn, unless your name is Anderson Silva, producing highlight reel kayos and remaining undefeated against the world’s best mixed martial artists is highly unlikely.

The last UFC fighter heavily hyped by both fans and media alike was Todd Duffee, a gargantuan heavyweight with a punch to match. Unfortunately, the tires on the Duffee express soon went flat following back-to-back kayo losses. To Duffee’s credit, he remained humble before losing and is currently on the “comeback” trail.

Saturday night, Thompson will battle Matt Brown, a UFC welterweight who has been submitted before but who has never been kayoed. While Thompson would do well to dance with what brought him here, he should also try to keep the fight off his back as he is still learning the finer techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Regardless of the outcome, fans should not blink while Thompson kicks away at Brown, as Brown does not lay down for anyone.

The smart money says Brown will come out and try to take the fight to the ground. This will be a good test for Thompson to see if he can keep the fight on his feet. His initial kick and his flexibility should keep Brown at bay and earn Thompson a second-round stoppage. The funny money says Brown will introduce Thompson to the "aisle of loss fights" via a shocking straight right hand, in the second round.

UPDATE:
If you bet with the funny money your a little richer as Brown used his experience and mauling style to earn a well-deserved decsion over Thompson.

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