Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Paulo Thiago thrilled the hometown crowd while winning a unanimous decision over American David Mitchell in a welterweight bout. The BOPE officer came out to an amazing reception, second only to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on the entire night, and they stayed loud throughout the whole fight. The fight started a bit slowly, but picked up when Thaigo got an emphatic takedown halfway through the round. Mitchell showed some solid defense on the ground though, which was one of the stories of the fight. Thiago chose to stand, and got a similar takedown again later in the round.
The second and third rounds were carbon-copies of the first. Thiago gets an emphatic takedown and looks to advance position. Mitchell keeps him at bay, Thiago stands, they trade some more, then back to the floor again. Thiago did close out the fight with a close rear naked choke attempt that had the crowd going bonkers, but he ran out of time. The judges all had it 30-27 for Thiago. The fight was the fifth and final bout on the Facebook portion of the UFC 134 broadcast.
What was the high spot of this fight?
The crowd. While Thaigo looked dominant with the takedowns and came close to finishing the fight at the very end, the crowd was so loud and supportive of Thiago that it brought a smile to my face. The image in this post should give you some indication of how into Thiago they were.
Where do these guys go from here?
Thiago has faced a murderers row of welterweights in his first six UFC fights, so it was nice to see him get a fight where he was a definitive favorite going in. He has slipped to 18 in the USA Today/BE consensus rankings, but I believe he's better than that. A matchup with Dong Hyun Kim or John Hathaway would be interesting.
Mitchell is now 0-2 in the UFC and while he has shown solid ground skills in his two fights, he hasn't won a single round in the six he's competed in so far. I believe he will be released by the promotion.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. Normally I wouldn't pick now for a decision unless it featured some amazing back-and-forth action, but the crowd respond to Thiago, and Thiago's domination, makes this a fun use of 15 minutes.
More BE coverage of in the full entry.