You have to love Dana White and his directness. During a mini-scrum after UFC Fight Night 32 this past Saturday night, from the Goiânia Arena in Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil he was asked about Brandon Thatch. “Stud. Fucking Stud,” Dana answered. He then went on to detail that it was especially impressive stoppage because of how good and tough Paulo Thiago is as a fighter. Thiago is a UFC veteran and this was his eleventh fight for the organization. He holds wins over Josh Koscheck via TKO and Mike Swick by a Brabo Choke Technical Submisson. Dana knows just how impressive this finish was for Thatch and it signals a bright future for him.
In many other years Thatch might be receiving a lot of media attention but this year has been filled with a lot of MMA greatness. This year the UFC has put on some of their best cards and had some of their best fights in their twenty year history. It seems like every other week there is a UFC card and new fight of the year candidate. It is hard to get attention for a UFC newcomer not named Conor McGregor, who shares similarities to Thatch inside of the octagon, but outside they are very different.
To say that McGregor is a bit brash and bold is like saying you might hear the word fuck used once or twice in a Tommy Toe Hold – Dana White segment. McGregor has backed up all of his talk with two impressive wins to start his UFC career. In his debut he won KO of the night after calling it before the fight, and asking for it in his post fight interview. On a lot of nights Thatch would have won KO of the night bonus for his stoppage of Thiago, but when Vitor Belfort KO’d Dan Henderson he locked up that award. Thatch may have done it a little quieter outside of the octagon but inside he has been equally as exciting.
His debut was attention-getting as he destroyed Justin Edwards in a little over a minute. He needed all of two minutes to dispatch Thiago with a perfect liver shot. It forced Thiago to tap out due to strikes so it is technically a submission win for him. The really scary thing for welterweights in the UFC is that he is still improving. In fact after this fight he was not satisfied with his performance.
During his post fight interview with Heidi Androl he mentioned that he was a little sloppy in this one. He did have a good size hematoma on his forehead from a Thiago right hand. It was one of five punches he landed on Thatch in this fight. Thiago also got a takedown on Thatch in this fight and was not able to land a single strike before Thatch got back to his feet. In fact, Thiago was not able to mount much offense in this fight as he was too busy trying to avoid and defend Thatch’s strikes.
If this was a sloppy performance it will be a sight behold when he turns in a clean one. To just handle Thiago so easily in Brazil, for only his second UFC fight, is an impressive performance for this newcomer. He has shown excellent movement and footwork with his striking. He works all levels and utilizes knees and kicks effortlessly. He keeps you off-balance, you do not know where the strike is coming from, or whether it is going high or low. He is also very adept at using fakes and feints to set up his strikes. With his kicks and long arms he can pick you a part at distance. It is only natural for an opponent to get inside against him to neutralize is length but he has a really strong clinch game as he showed in the brief fight with Thiago.
Even though at one point Thiago had the body lock on Thatch it was Thatch who landed several strong knees to the body and the head. He was able to consistently do more damage on the inside than Thiago. They other problem is getting inside has it perils as well. First off Thatch usually has his opponents moving backwards as he is coming forward. Then you have get past his arsenal of strikes just to get knee’d in the head in a clinch.
The finishing move in this bout was a beautifully executed step in knee. He faked with the right hand to the head as he was coming into Thiago. He stepped forward with the right leg in a half skip as he threw the right hand feint. The right leg planted and he slightly pivoted on it. Thiago was crouched down slightly and back to avoid the right hand and it left him open for a moment. Right as the opening flashed in came Thatch’s left knee pinpointing its way right to the liver. Thiago dropped. Thatch followed him and started to throw strikes to the head as Thiago quickly tapped.
Thatch was brought in by Georges St-Pierre to spar and help him prepare for a couple of fights. With his size and skill set you can see why GSP would work with him. You also have to wonder if GSP is looking at Thatch as a potential contender for his belt. By bringing him in to his camp he now has a better feel for Thatch and what he can do and how he moves. It is one thing to see someone on video but it is very different live inside of the cage. It is an old school boxing trick where the champion’s people will identify future opponents and bring them into spar with the champ.
Thatch is now two for two in the UFC and both wins have been spectacular stoppages. He mentioned after the fight that he wanted to take a little time off to clean up some nagging injuries. When he comes back it is time for some new challenges for him. He is certainly ready to take on a top fifteen or top ten opponent. If he keeps winning with highlight reel first round finishes than we just might see him challenging for GSP’s title in the near future. Until then enjoy his journey in the UFC it is going to be a fun one. After all, he is according to Dana himself, “A fucking stud.”
Box3 years ago
The Highest Paid Boxers in Boxing History
Hall of Violence3 years ago
MMA Weight Classes: A Complete Guide
Featured2 years ago
The 5 Most Boring Fights In UFC History
Featured2 years ago
5 Fighters Who Can Beat Khabib Nurmagomedov
Featured2 years ago
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hasbulla Magomedov
MMA3 years ago
UFC Fight Night 174 Preview
MMA2 years ago
The Greatest Heavyweight Champions In UFC History
MMA2 years ago
The Top 5 Highest-Grossing UFC PPVs Without Conor McGregor