Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight veterans Thales Leites and Chris Camozzi threw down last night (Aug. 6, 2016) inside UFC Fight Night 92 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After a hot start to his second UFC run, Leites came up short in his last two bouts. To remain in the rankings, Leites needed to return to the win column in this match up. Camozzi has looked better than ever in his recent showings, as the 29-year-old seemed to finally have pieced together his full mixed martial arts (MMA) game. In his first real step up since "Jacare," Camozzi was hoping to make a statement.
To watch Thales Leites vs. Chris Camozzi full fight video highlights from UFC 'Salt Lake' last night click here!
Leites wasted little time in shooting for his first takedown. It took nearly two full minutes, but Leites eventually transitioned into the standing back mount position. Camozzi shook him off briefly, but Leites worked him right back into the same spot.
From the standing back mount, Leites tried to swim under his opponent’s chin and landed a few ground strikes. The Brazilian didn’t do much, but he controlled the position until the end of the round.
It wasn’t pretty, but Leites was ahead.
Once more, Leites only ate a couple jabs before shooting for and landing a takedown. Camozzi tried to use his butterfly hooks to stand, but Leites moved around his guard and took the back once more.
For the rest of the round, Leites simply hung onto back mount and landed small strikes. He never came particularly close to a choke or scored with any devastating punches, but he undoubtedly won the round.
Camozzi needed a finish in the third to win.
To his credit, the American came out swinging and landed some strong shots. Unfortunately for him, Leites is a true veteran, and he quickly changed levels and scored with a trip takedown.
Once more, Leites moved into the back mount fairly quickly. This time, Camozzi was more desperate to escape and left his neck a bit more open. Before long, Leites was able to slip his arm under the neck and crank on it, submitting his opponent.
This may not have been a pretty performance, but it was damn effective.
Leites stuck to his roots and dominated. He may struggle against an opponent with explosive hips and ironclad takedown defense, but that isn’t Camozzi. Against a foe who allows his opponent in on the hips and works his way out, Leites is simply too technically far ahead of his opponent.
Furthermore, Leites’ ground control was masterful. After he got on top of Camozzi. he wore through his defenses and kept working into the back mount. Eventually, that persistence earned him the finish.
Leites may not be back in the title hunt, but he is back in the win column.
Despite an opponent doing precisely what everyone expected him to try to do, Camozzi was not able to prevent his grappling assault. Each time Leites really committed to dragging his foe to the mat, he succeeded.
On the whole, Camozzi’s problem came due to his inability to keep Leites off his hips. Camozzi had two real options: he could aggressively walk his man down and keep him on the defense, or he could focus heavily on movement and make it difficult to set up his shots. Instead, Camozzi hung around between the two plans and was thrown to the mat repeatedly. It’s a disappointing end to Camozzi’s current climb, as he’ll have to start from the bottom once again.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 92, Thales Leites dominated and submitted Chris Camozzi. Can Leites climb back into the title mix?
For complete UFC Fight Night 92: "Rodriguez vs Caceres" results and play-by-play, click HERE!