Last night (Nov. 9, 2013) Welterweight up-and-comers Brandon Thatch and Paulo Thiago squared off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 32 from Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil.
Thiago, a seasoned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, had gone through a rough patch as of late. He sought to end the momentum of surging young prospect Thatch, who entered the bout with an impressive 10-1 record in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Unfortunately, that goal didn't transpire for him.
Thatch put on an incredible performance to notch his second straight UFC win and send notice to the rest of the 170-pound division. Let's take a look back at the biggest win of Thatch's young career.
The fight started out with Thatch stalking Thiago with his vaunted kickboxing. He cut off Thiago's angles, but the Brazilian scored a takedown. Thatch was quick to return to his feet and push Thiago up against the fence. "Rukus" went to work with his trademark knees, landing a vicious one to Thiago's liver to earn the quick tapout.
It was another thunderous performance from Thatch, who has officially made his presence known at Welterweight. In a division full of top shelf wrestlers, Thatch will have to prove that he can hang with the best. Thiago took down Thatch with ease but "Rukus" was able to recover quite well. That may not be the case against a Josh Koscheck-type of opponent.
His striking, however, is simply otherworldly.
Thatch has the ability to use his length to his advantage and his Muay Thai strikes have the ability to put fighters to sleep quickly. He's an absolutely huge Welterweight who never stops coming forward. It's going to be tough to figure out the correct gameplan with which to derail Thatch's considerable hype.
Thatch admitted that Thiago scared him on the ground, so he'll have to shore up his takedown defense and ground game in a big way if he wants to fight for the title down the road. If he can he may find himself as a legitimate contender sooner than later. With his record and recent performances, Thatch might get fed to the UFC wolves sooner than later.
There aren't many fighters in the top ten who are currently without a fight, so a bout with a fighter like experienced Mike Pyle could make sense for Thatch.
For Thiago, it's most likely time to step back and re-evaluate his motivation as an MMA fighter. His job as a member of a Police Special Forces unit in his hometown has to be a very time-consuming occupation. While he's no doubt had some great wins in the Octagon, his best days as a fighter have most likely passed.
It's just too hard to win in today's ever-changing UFC landscape as a part-time fighter.
Thiago has lost five out of his last seven bouts so it wouldn't be huge surprise to see him receive his walking papers. He doesn't have much left to prove if he can't contend with the top contenders at 170 pounds.
UFC Fight Night 32 continued to showcase the fast-rising Brandon Thatch. Will he soon take the Welterweight division by storm, or can a top-flight grappler bring him back down to earth?