Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is a man of spinning back flips, spinning back kicks, and super shiny gold championships in his future. After his exquisitely technical win over Rory MacDonald (UFC Fight Night), he will tell you the title shot is inevitable.
“This was the most nervous I’ve ever been before a fight,” Thompson said on the most recent episode (#38) of the Show the ART Podcast. “Just because I really wasn’t sure exactly what he was gonna go out there in the octagon and do.”
A few years back, Wonderboy traveled up north to the famous TriStar Gym, to train with one of the elite coaches in the world, Firas Zahabi. TriStar is the home of legend and long time welterweight king, Georges St Pierre, and his ever evolving protege, Rory MacDonald. So the story goes they had trained together and were always cordial, but had never sparred together. The important thing to point out is that both guys learned about each other’s fight strategies, which played an important role in their highly anticipated fight on June 18, 2016.
“Three weeks before the fight, we were rolling and I was like you know what…watch him try the Ryan Hall flying heel hooks,” Thompson said. Ryan Hall comes from a prestigious Jiujitsu pedigree and is well versed in leg lock attacks. (Google Ryan Hall BJJ matches, he is an incredible grappler!)
“I knew he was gonna do it because I know he’s a heel hook guy,” said Thompson of Rory MacDonald. “I was like watch him go out there, try and throw one of those flying heel hooks in the first round and try and make a statement.”
Rory attempted a couple of solid Imanari roll attacks on Thompson and it truly did make a huge statement in the fight. The first one in particular was very precise and in my eyes, Thompson escaped by the skin of his knees. (If you don’t know what an Imanari roll is, google it haha! Seriously, google it.) It is used mainly to set up heel hook submissions, which are dangerous to the knee. It was popularized by a former MMA fighter by the name of Imanari Masakazu.
“I’ve done some training with Ryan Hall and I knew Ryan would go up to TriStar and do some training up there as well,” Thompson said. Referring to the heel hook (Imanari roll) attacks, Thompson said, “thats something they were working on.”
All in all, Rory MacDonald put up an excellent fight and showed how skillful he is. He did an excellent job complicating the rhythm that Wonderboy likes to fight at, which forced both fighters to become extremely methodical in their “in-game” strategy. In the end though, Thompson’s striking proved to be too much for MacDonald and he won via unanimous decision.
If Wonderboy doesn’t get the next W.W. title shot, it will be a crime against humanity and all that is right with the world.
If you are a little more interested in what Wonderboy had to say, please check out the rest of this podcast episode by visiting iTunes or Stitcher and searching Show the ART Podcast : MMA & Sports.
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