One of the potential, preliminary card ‘gems’ that’s scheduled for UFC 163 features middleweight Tom Watson taking on Thales Leites, who will be returning to the Octagon for the first time since 2009. If you’re new to the whole ‘ultimate fighting’ thing then you may not be aware of Mr. Leites, who fought reigning middleweight king Anderson Silva at UFC 97, and lost by unanimous decision (in what was a horrifyingly awful fight).
Since exiting from the UFC, however, Leites has gone 6-1 and has taken out several vets like Jeremy Horn, Matt Horwich and Jesse Taylor in the process. While some fans may still remember the 32 year-old for his forgettable performance against Silva, the reality is that Leites carries a 20-4 record, is a BJJ black belt, and has never been stopped (he has one loss via submission to Horwich). Perhaps this is why Watson is hoping to stop Leites on August 3rd, and to make a big statement in the process. While speaking to RM Sport’s Rick Lee recently, the 30 year-old, British middleweight stated:
“He’s a phenomenal jiu-jitsu guy for sure; logic suggests don’t go to the ground with him, don’t have a jiu-jitsu match, but he’s never been TKO’d in 24 fights. That says a lot. Look at the guys he’s been against: Anderson, a lot of these high level names, so my attitude in this fight is that I have to finish him. I’m not going to he happy to go out there and get the decision. I want to be the first guy that finishes him by KO.”
“I think in this fight, to finish him and knock him out, no one has done it, I think they’ll give me a top ten guy. For sure I have to get close to it after this.”
Watson (16-5) is coming off an impressive stoppage win over Stanislav Nedkov at UFC on FUEL TV 7 in February, after losing by split decision to Brad Tavares at UFC on FUEL TV 5. A knockout win over Leites would definitely be a great way to keep the ball rolling.
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Front-Page Photo Credit: Lee Whitehead / MMA Weekly