Thiago Tavares (13-1) will fight Michihiro Omigawa (4-5) at UFC Fight Night 12 on January 23, 2008, according to Sherdog.com.
Up until his first loss to Tyson Griffin at UFC 76: "Knockout" in September (a fantastic clash that produced the "Fight of the Night"), Tavares was on the fast-track to top contender status in the lightweight division.
Perhaps it was too fast, however; the talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt now appears to have accepted a fight against someone who he should (on paper) handle rather easily.
Here's his take:
"I think he is a good opponent ... the guys from UFC are trying to build my name again because I'm coming off a loss. That's why they didn't give me a top opponent. Not disrespecting him -- he is a good athlete, fought at the Olympics and in big MMA organizations. He is a middle-level fighter, not top, but I'm training to face him like it is a title shot. Every single fight is the most important fight of my life."
Omigawa dropped his Octagon debut Matt Wiman also via unanimous decision at the same September show mentioned above from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Prior to that appearance Omigawa made a name for himself competing under the DEEP banner in Japan.
It's important to note that before his loss to Wiman that Omigawa was on a three-fight winning streak.
Tavares was on a roll with impressive UFC wins over Jason Black and Naoyuki Kotani before he met up with Griffin. It's a fight that in his mind he feels he did not lose.
Here's another snip:
"You have no idea what I've being going through since that fight ... Plus the fact I didn't think I lost. ... Maybe he won, but I didn't agree with the way that gave him the victory. ... There was a judge giving him 30-27; that guy had bad intentions. I'm trying to let it go, but I will over-think it. I'm trying to see that fight not as one step back, but as I didn't make a step forward. I'll beat Omigawa in January and I hope to fight in April again because by the end of the upcoming year, I'll be back to the top again. That loss will give me a lot of victories -- that's a promise."
His newfound motivation could spell trouble for Omigawa and the rest of the 155-pound class in 2008. It should be fun to watch and find out.
For the latest rumored UFC Fight Night 12 fight card click here.