Second-ranked welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson became the top contender in the 170-pound division on Saturday when he defeated top-ranked Rory MacDonald in a one-sided unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night 89 main event.
Thompson’s karate-based fighting style seemed to confuse MacDonald. He used kicks and footwork to control the distance, and defended MacDonald’s rolling takedown attempts. As the technical fight played out, Thompson proved to be the faster and more accurate striker of the two contenders.
The 33-year-old American routinely delivered side kicks to the body and landed last in nearly every exchange. He peppered his Canadian opponent with strikes while moving out of counterpunch range. He outclassed MacDonald at TD Place Arena in Ottawa. Two of the three judges had Thompson winning all five rounds.
“I expected to come out here and it be a little bit more of a war. I didn’t think Rory was going to be prepared for the angles, the speed. As soon as I met him in the middle, just his stance, I realized this is going to be a chess match,” said Thompson following the biggest win of his career.
“I knew he was going to shoot, or try something different. Rory is always evolving. You don’t know exactly what he’s going to bring,” he said.
MacDonald made no excuses for the loss, and gave all the credit to Thompson for being the better fight on Saturday.
“It was a hard fight,” said MacDonald after the loss. “I came in the best shape of my life. I was at my best tonight, so I can’t take anything away Stephen. He really came. He’s a tricky guy.”
Thompson extended his winning streak to seven consecutive fights, including a TKO win over former champion Johny Hendricks in his previous bout.