Paulo Thiago is set to fight for the first time since signing a new four fight deal with the UFC, facing 24 year-old Mike Rhodes at UFC Fight Night 51. Both fighters are coming into the fight off two losses in a row, making this a must-win for each welterweight.
The UFC’s decision to keep Paulo Thiago around was a surprising one and after losing his sixth in eight against Gasan Umalatov in May, which was the last fight on his contract, it was speculated by many in the MMA community that his deal would not be renewed. However, despite his recent skid, Thiago will stick around a little while longer, and hope to repay the faith shown in him with a win over Mike Rhodes.
Paulo Thiago is perhaps best known for his underdog knockout win over Josh Koscheck, landing a huge right hook which shut the lights out in the first round. Winning three of his first four UFC outings, Thiago looked like a potential contender in the UFC’s welterweight division, but since that run he has gone on to win just two in eight. To add to this, Thiago has been knocked out in the first round twice in his last four losses, one of which coming just 42 seconds into the fight.
The 33 year-old has got another shot and four fights remaining on his deal, but a win over Mike Rhodes is a must.
Mike Rhodes entered the UFC with a lot of hype, but has so far failed to live up to expectations. After going 6-1 outside of the UFC, which included capturing the RFA welterweight title, Rhodes’ only loss came against Brandon Thatch – who has gone on to become one of the biggest prospects in the division. Two decision losses later and Rhodes could be sent back to the regional circuit if he fails to get the better of Paulo Thiago.
The bout between Paulo Thiago and Mike Rhodes will be contested on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 51, which is headlined by Andrei Arlovski getting his chance at redemption against Bigfoot Silva in a five-round heavyweight bout. The event is hosted at Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil.