Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson had something to prove at UFC 244.
Following back-to-back losses including a shocking knockout suffered to Anthony Pettis in his last outing, Thompson put on a striking showcase to batter and bloody Vicente Luque before winning a unanimous decision after three rounds. The scorecards read 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27, all in favor of Thompson.
“He was a tough guy,” Thompson said about Luque after embracing him in the Octagon. “I hit him in the head as hard as I could and he just kept coming forward.”
It didn’t take long for Thompson to immediately settle into his side-stance where he began peppering Luque with short kicks and throwing pinpoint accurate jabs from the hip.
As much as Thompson was controlling the distance, Luque was still moving forward while landing some thunderous punches that definitely got the attention of the former two-time title contender.
Luque’s relentless aggression forced Thompson to up his output while showing a willingness to trade shots with him on the feet. While it may not have been his original game plan, Thompson seemed comfortable with the adjustment as he continued to launch a variety of strikes at Luque.
Thompson’s technical kickboxing seemed to throw off Luque’s timing, which allowed the karate stylist to begin setting up his combinations. Thompson connected with a side kick that sent Luque flying and he followed that up with a number of stinging punches before ending with a nasty wheel kick.
While Luque absorbed the blow, his forward pressure was slowing down, which in turn allowed Thompson to pick his shots while really starting to pour on the offense. By the end of the second round, Luque’s face was streaked with blood after getting diced up by “Wonderboy”.
Thompson’s confidence was soaring as he walked into the third round and began looking for the shot that would finally put Luque away. The exchanges were constantly favoring Thompson and it appeared he might get the finish after dropping Luque to the ground with a nasty combination.
Thompson followed him to the ground to continue the assault but he got back to his feet after realizing that Luque wasn’t going away. The same strategy continued until time ran out with Thompson pursuing the knockout but Luque finding some way to survive.
While he did everything except get the finish, “Wonderboy” put on one of his strongest performances in recent memory as he bounced back from his last two losses. He remains a top welterweight contender after notching his 10th win in the UFC.