After fighting outside of the UFC for nearly four years and putting together a 6-1 record, former middleweight contender Thales Leites will return to the Octagon on August 3rd to fight Tom “Kong” Watson. While many fans might still cringe when they hear the name Leites, due to his awful performance and decision loss versus Anderson Silva at UFC 97, at the end of the day, he is a pretty tough man to beat.
In addition to having put together a 20-4 record, which includes victories over several tough vets, Leites is a BJJ black belt and has never been knocked out. This is why in a recent interview with RM Sport’s Rick Lee, Watson argued that a stoppage win over Leites would go a long way in establishing himself in the UFC middleweight division.
“He’s a phenomenal jiu-jitsu guy for sure; logic suggests don’t go to the ground with him, don’t have a jiu-jitsu match, but he’s never been TKO’d in 24 fights. That says a lot. Look at the guys he’s been against: Anderson, a lot of these high level names, so my attitude in this fight is that I have to finish him. I’m not going to he happy to go out there and get the decision; I want to be the first guy that finishes him by KO.”
“I think in this fight, to finish him and knock him out, no one has done it, I think they’ll give me a top ten guy. For sure I have to get close to it after this.”
Watson (16-5) has also been on a pretty impressive run as of late, as he stopped Stanislav Nedkov in his last outing at UFC on FUEL TV 7, to rebound nicely from the split decision loss he incurred versus Brad Tavares last September. The British fighter is 4-1 in his last five bouts, and the only other man to defeat him since 2007 is Jesse Taylor, who Leites submitted in 2010. You can draw something from that if you like.
UFC 163 will be hosted by the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro and will feature featherweight champ Jose Aldo taking on Chan Sung Jung.