Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Thales Leites and Tim Boetsch looked to break into the top 10 last night (Sat. 31, 2015) at the UFC 183 pay-per-view (PPV) event inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Leites entered this bout with a fair bit of momentum. After being cut from UFC, Leites went on a huge run, which included four straight UFC victories upon his return. Last night, Leites aimed to re-announce himself as a contender.
Meanwhile, Boetsch continues to struggle. On paper, he's alternated wins and losses, but his record does not truly show how "The Barbarian" has been performing. In order to retain his spot among the top portion of the rankings, Boetsch needed a victory.
For much of the first frame, Boetsch fought very well. Both at range and in the clinch, "The Barbarian" got the better of his Brazilian foe. In addition, he stuffed his opponent's takedown attempts without any problems.
Leites had his moments in the first round, landing some heavy low kicks and a couple nice punches. However, he got clipped at the end of the round and briefly slumped to the mat. Fortunately for the Brazilian, the clock ran out before Boetsch could do anything with his top position.
Quite the return to form for Boetsch, at least in the first frame.
Both men landed heavily to start the second round. At first, Leites landed another seriously powerful low kick and followed it up with a nice left hook. Then Boetsch began turning up the volume, landing his overhand with consistency.
After Leites looked to move into the clinch, Boetsch landed a hard right hand. Again, Boetsch pursued with more punches, hurting his opponent badly. Leites reacted to this by shooting for a double leg against the fence.
That's where Boetsch made his mistake.
While his opponent was deep on his hips and driving, Boetsch attempted to land elbows strikes to the side of the head rather than sprawl. This allowed Leites to finish the shot and quickly move into mount.
From there, Leites had a gigantic advantage. Boetsch tried to scramble, but Leites locked in an arm-triangle choke. Boetsch escaped at first, but fell right back into the submission.
And just like that, a wild fight was all over.
Leites has truly improved from his first run inside the Octagon. Even though he was largely out-struck by his opponent, his confidence on his feet and willingness to trade allowed him to stay unpredictable. Otherwise, he never would have gotten on top of his opponent.
Luckily, his elite jiu-jitsu hasn't changed a bit. Once he got on top of Boetsch, "The Barbarian" continued to fall into the arm-triangle choke, which is the Nova Uniao specialty. It was simply a matter of time until Leites secured the finish, which is especially impressive against a quality grappler like Boetsch.
For Leites next bout, a scrap with Gegard Mousasi would make sense. Leites deserves an opponent inside the top 10, and Mousasi is an elite striker who could test his chin. Alternatively, Leites can find out if there are weaknesses in his foe's grappling.
This is a terrible loss for Boetsch, simply because he looked great prior to giving up that final takedown. Overall, he looked like the version of Boetsch that was once a fringe contender, rather than the recent scrapper who got boxed up by CB Dollaway.
Hopefully, Boetsch doesn't fall too far down the rankings after that performance. Since he's basically fought everyone just outside the top 10, a match against Rafael Natal could work.
At UFC 183, Thales Leites absorbed some power shots en route to a submission victory. Can the Brazilian make it back to a title shot?
For complete UFC 183 "Silva vs Diaz" results and play-by-play, click HERE.