Facing the always-talkative Kevin Holland, the two-time UFC title challenger barely had a chance to throw his first couple of combinations before they were talking to each other while simultaneously attempting to score an emphatic knockout.
According to Thompson, he and Holland agreed they would engage in a striking battle, and each lived up to that promise — at least during the early part of the fight.
“It was kind of one of those unwritten rules we had going into this fight,” Thompson explained at the UFC Orlando post-fight press conference. “I know later on he was shooting, he had a busted hand, but I think I fell down in the first round, and he let me back up.
“He told me in the first round, ‘I’m not taking you down.’ All right, sounds good to me. It was kind of one of those handshakes we had in the first round, nobody was going to go down.”
That changed after Thompson really started teeing off on Holland, including several spin kicks that blasted the Contender Series veteran, who simply refused to go down.
“At the end, he started to shoot [for takedowns], and I was like, ‘Hey, I thought you weren’t going to shoot!’” Thompson said. “And he was like, ‘I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.’”
As the fight advanced past the first round, Thompson started to connect, throwing lightning quick combinations and a barrage of punches and kicks that consistently caught Holland off guard.
While Holland displayed unbelievable durability as he absorbed Thompson’s best strikes, he actually asked if perhaps the 39-year-old veteran might consider taking his finger off the fast-forward button.
When Thompson inevitably hit Holland anyways, he immediately issued an apology.
“He was telling me to slow down, and I was telling him I’m sorry the entire time,” Thompson revealed. “He was like, ‘You got me good,’ I was like ‘I’m sorry, man!’ It was fun. He’s hilarious.”
In a moment that seemingly escaped referee Dan Miragliotta, who never paused the contest due to an accidental clash of heads, Thompson said Holland took it upon himself to stop what he was doing to ensure both of them were OK.
“Whenever we head butted each other, he was like, ‘Oh man, I’m sorry,’ and I was like, ‘No, man, it’s OK, keep fighting, keep fighting,’” Thompson said. “We had some fun conversations in there.
“We wouldn’t have put on a good show if it wasn’t for him as well. I appreciate Kevin.”
The bout was eventually stopped after Holland’s coaches waved off the fight at the end of the fourth round, which gave Wonderboy the win. The performance put Thompson back on track following consecutive losses to Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad in his previous outings.
As far as what’s next, Thompson didn’t name anybody that he was seeking for a fight, although he definitely likes the idea of matching himself against another opponent with a similar discipline to Holland.
“If you guys want more fights like that, give me a striker,” Thompson said. “Give me a striker. Of course, I’m always looking for the title, and that’s always at the top of the list, but why not have some fun fights along the way.”