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How Stephen Thompson Knocked Down Masvidal

How Stephen Thompson Knocked Down Masvidal

Stephen “Wonderboy”  Thompson has been one of the top UFC welterweights for a while now. Getting to that high of a level and staying there isn’t easy, especially when people say that your style doesn’t work. Thompson incorporates a lot of his long history of Sport Karate into his MMA fighting style. Karate is an art that MMA fighters started moving away from after it was shown to be “ineffective” in the early days of the UFC. 

Karate being the base for Thompson’s MMA style makes him all the more impressive. Thompson’s tance, footwork and striking techniques are pretty much all taken from Karate. This unique style makes him a hard person to prepare for and unpredictable in a fight. These karate techniques are what helped Thompson defeat the massively popular Jorge Masvidal, albeit before his career resurgence. 

There was one moment in particular during the fight where Thompson was able to score a massive knockdown on Masvidal. In this video, Thompson goes over the exact technique that he used to get that knockdown. 


This technique was used as a counter to a jab by Masvidal but it can be used on its own. The reason that this technique works well as a counter to the jab is because the jab leaves a wide open target for you to land the shot. 

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The technique starts off with Thompson bouncing in his stance to hide his movements and keep his opponent guessing. From there Thompson uses Karate style shuffle movement to land his own jab from a distance. This is done to draw out the opponent's jab and Thompson moves his head to the outside to both avoid his opponent’s jab and get his weight on the outside to make his next move easier. Thompson also says that he leaves the jab out for a little longer than usual to cover his opponent’s eyes and disguise his next movement. 

After landing the jab and hopefully avoiding his opponent’s Thompson steps to the outside. Thompson points out the importance of landing in your stance after stepping to the outside and not landing in an already forward facing position. This way you can get the maximum amount of power into your cross. From this position, especially if your opponent just threw their jab, the side of their head that is facing you should be completely open to your punch. Thompson points out a few targets that you can go for. The chin and the jaw are good classic options but Thompson also recommends striking your opponent’s ear if possible. 

Striking someone in the ear might not cause a knockout but it will throw off their equilibrium. This is more likely to lead to a knockdown and if you’re fighting in MMA this makes it a perfect opportunity to go for a top position. In fact Thompson mentions that he believes that he landed on the ear of Masvidal to cause the knockdown. 

After landing the right hand, Thompson recommends that you continue circling around your opponent. This way you can get behind them if they manage to stay standing. This will also help you keep your distance and have a solid angle for any follow up strikes. This will also keep you clear from any counters that your opponent might throw if you miss your punch. 

Movement as a Weapon by Stephen Thompson
If you want to learn more striking techniques and drills like this from Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson check out our complete video series with him, available now!