Former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis made a superhero splash in his welterweight debut Saturday, knocking out two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson with a Superman counterpunch with five seconds left in the second round in the main event of UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pettis, who previously had fought at 155 and 145 pounds, became just the third fighter to win in those UFC weight classes as well as 170 pounds, joining Kenny Florian and Conor McGregor.
Pettis (22-8), who came in having lost five of his eight bouts since dropping his 155-pound belt in 2015, was getting lit up for much of this striking battle, with Thompson’s crisp jabs bloodying his face.
But Thompson (14-4-1), a former karate and kickboxing specialist, paid a price for coming in too aggressively as the second round was coming to a close, and Pettis, whose background is in taekwondo, knocked him out with one big right hand.
Thompson, who is No. 6 in ESPN’s welterweight rankings, fell to 1-3-1 in his past five fights.