UFC 163 fight card primer: Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 163: Aldo vs. Jung fight card primer, previewing all the action at this weekend's UFC 163 PPV live from Brazil. Here, we look at Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson.

At UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie, former top contender Thales Leites (20-4 MMA; 5-3 UFC) returns to face Tom Watson (16-5 MMA; 1-1 UFC). This Middleweight fight is the 2nd on the 5 fight PPV broadcast. Neither man is currently ranked in the UFC rankings. The UFC 163 PPV airs live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this Saturday, August 3, on PPV with the main card starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

As with many fights on the UFC shows in Brazil, this is a vintage Brazilian vs. non-Brazilian fight. Leites is in here representing the old guard of sorts, while the always outspoken Watson looks to knock him off his pedestal. With Leites having been out of the UFC for so long, it's hard to know exactly what to expect from him here, and how Watson will respond. Should be an intriguing match-up.

How do these two stack up?

Leites: 31 years old | 6'1" | 78" reach
Watson: 31 years old | 6'1" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

Leites: W - Matt Horwich (Sub) | W - Jeremy Horn (SD) | W - Tor Troeng (Sub)
Watson: W - Stanislav Nedkov (TKO) | L - Brad Tavares (SD) | W - Jack Marshman (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Thales Leites is, unfortunately, best known to UFC fans for his debacle of a Middleweight title challenge against Anderson Silva. That fight was a disaster, plain and simple, and after that and a loss to Alessio Sakara, he was released from the UFC. Since then, he's gone 6-1 against a solid level of competition including the likes of Jeremy Horn, Dean Lister, Jesse Taylor, and Matt Horwich. Leites was once a well respected MW contender - but he needs an exciting performance here if he wants UFC fans to start looking past the Silva fight.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 163

Tom "Kong" Watson is a fighter out of the UK scene. He put together a good record in England, with wins over Ninja Rua and John Maguire before coming to the UFC last year. He's now coming off a big win over Stanislav Nedkov - the first loss of Nedkov's career. Watson is a big personality who likes to be a showman in his entrances and is from the Chael Sonnen school of talking your way into a fight. Expect him to put on a show in some way against Leites.

Why should you care?

I'm actually interested to see both how Leites does in his return, and how Watson deals with the veteran.

More from Bloody Elbow:

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