Thompson, Poirier earn first round stoppages
Nicknamed "Wonderboy," Thompson entered his bout against Dan Stittgen with a perfect 5-0 record in MMA and years of kickboxing experience. His skill set was on display through the entirety of the contest, effortlessly keeping the distance, while landing strikes at will. Just after the four minute mark, Thompson faked a kick to the body and landed a solid head kick, knocking his opponent to the canvas.
Following a brief celebration, Thompson knelt in the center of the Octagon, soaking up the dominant victory.
Rafael Natal and Michael Kuiper battled for three rounds in a fairly competitive affair. Kuiper found little success in the first two frames of the contest, as Natal was able to score points on the judges' scorecards. But the third round began unlike the other rounds, as Kuiper dropped Natal with a right hand and looked to finish. He would not find the stoppage he sought, however, and Natal recovered enough to take the round on two of the three scorecards, along with the unanimous decision.
Matt Riddle got all he could handle early from Henry Martinez, who took the fight on short notice. But Martinez fell apart in the third, as the much bigger Riddle dictated the fight and worked it to the ground. From there, Riddle landed several big shots in the opening second, erasing at least some of the first two rounds, which featured excellent striking from Martinez. The judges did not turn in a unanimous decision for the fight, but two of the three gave it to Riddle, which was enough for him to talk away with the split-decision win.
After two fights that went to the judges' scorecards, Chris Cope and Matt Brown went to war with the hopes of finding a stoppage. The first round featured a back-and-forth battle on the feet, and Brown likely did enough to score more points, though both fighters found success. However, "The Immortal" did not have to worry about points when he floored Cope early in the second. Brown pounced on his downed opponent, dropping several more big shots before getting the stoppage. Cope, who was clearly knocked out, attempted to recover after the fight was stopped before realizing he had been defeated. Brown, meanwhile, celebrated the much-needed victory, stating that the "old Matt Brown" had finally returned to the cage.
Following the impressive knockout, Alex Caceres and Edwin Figueroa looked to do the same in a featherweight bout, but no knockout or submission was found – only a handful of kicks below the belt. Caceres landed a solid kick to Figueroa's groin in the first round, dropping him. Figueroa somehow recovered from the shot after several minutes and found success striking against Caceres. However, a second shot below the belt was enough to force another break in the action, as Figueroa once again was given time to recover. He did, to some extent, and Caceres was given a two-point deduction by referee Herb Dean. Caceres came out of the break gunning and put Figueroa in troublesome scenarios throughout the remainder of the second round and the final frame. However, the "Ultimate Fighter" veteran could not secure his several submission attempts, and Figueroa, thanks to the point deduction, walked away with a close decision victory.
Following the controversial featherweight affair, two more featherweights stepped into the cage, as Dustin Poirier looked to continue his run towards a title shot against Max Holloway. The two traded on the feet early in what was a very competitive striking match. But, following a knee from Holloway, Poirier looked for the takedown. He earned it and immediately moved into the mount. Holloway attempted to scramble, but got caught in an armbar, which Poirier transitioned to a triangle. When Holloway rolled, Poirier took top position with the submission and, after grabbing another armbar, forced the submission. After the fight, Poirier announced once again that he was in the UFC to earn a title. Following that kind of victory, the Louisiana native certainly isn't far off.