Thales Leites made a triumphant return to the UFC tonight, taking a fairly dominant unanimous decision victory over Tom Watson in their middleweight bout at UFC 163. He used his grappling advantage to control Watson on the ground for long stretches, and fought off fatigue to take it to the final horn. Leites took 30-27 scores on all three cards.
Leites waded in and cracked Watson on the jaw quickly. He got a body lock and dragged Watson to the ground with back control. Leites was looking for the rear naked choke, but Watson was able to fight him off. Leites turned the pressure up by trapping one of Kong's arms. He decided to change it up a bit and clubbed Watson on the side of the head for a while. Watson tried to squirm away, and he actually managed to get to his feet. Watson kicked at Leites' legs for the rest of the round.
They brawled a bit to open round two before Leites got another slick takedown. Within 10 seconds he was in mount. Watson quickly escaped, but still had Leites on his back. Watson tried to stack him up against the cage while Leites looked for an armbar. It was right against the cage though and he couldn't get it. They returned to the feet and Watson landed a big uppercut. Both fighters looked tired, but Leites was worse off.
Leites came out strong in the third with strikes, bloodying up Kong's face. They clinched up and Leites tried hard for a takedown, which he eventually got. And he went straight to mount. Leites set an arm triangle and got to squeezing. Watson gave the ref a thumbs up and they went to the horn.
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