Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Paulo Thiago thrilled the home-country crowd with a dominant unanimous decision victory over David Mitchell in the last fight of the Facebook-streamed portion of the UFC 134 preliminary card. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Thiago, which was an easy call considering how well he controlled Mitchell throughout the fight. He landed multiple takedowns in every round, and nearly finished the fight with a choke in the closing seconds.
The fight started off with Thiago throwing a leg kick and a left hand. Thaigo earned a takedown on Mitchell after he came forward a little too fast and fell straight into side control. Paulo was unable to get anything going, and Mitchell popped back up to his feet. The crowd gave a big roar when Thiago threw a spinning back kick. After a few uninspired exchanges, Thiago again caught a charging Mitchell and threw him down to the mat, ending again in side control. He attempted to set up a crucifix, but was unsuccessful. A few punches from the top landed for Thiago, but he once again backed out and let Mitchell back to his feet. Thiago clearly took the first round.
The second round opened with Thiago landing a couple of good punches. Mitchell managed to push Thiago up against the cage, but couldn't get anything going from there due to Thiago having underhooks. Thiago managed to use those to push forward and get the takedown. Paulo looked to set up a D'Arce choke again, but there was nothing there. Mitchell looked to reverse, but Thiago backed out. After just a few seconds standing, Thiago took him down again. And backed out yet again. Mitchell finally landed a jab, but got taken down yet again. It almost looked like Gleison Tibau vs. Josh Neer at that point, takedown after takedown but continual pullouts. The last 90 seconds of the round was contested on the feet, with neither man getting much of an advantage. Thiago definitely won round two as well.
The third began with Thiago pressing forward with his striking. Mitchell didn't seem to have much of an answer for Thiago anywhere. Thiago landed a nice left hook, which caused Mitchell to immediately push him against the cage. Underhooks, trip takedown, a bit of ground work, and Thiago pulling out gets it back to standing. Mitchell landed a solid right, but ate a head kick in return. Thiago started to throw one strike at a time halfway through the round, and Mitchell actually started to land a little bit. It wasn't enough though, and eventually Thiago came back with some solid strikes with about a minute to go. Thiago took Mitchell's back with 30 seconds to go, dragged him down, and sunk in the hooks. It looked like he might have a choke sunk in with just a few seconds left, but the horn blew. Thiago looked excellent all the way through.