It’s time for the “main event” of the UFC 196 FOX Sports 1 prelims, and it features the striking-centric badasses of Brandon Thatch and Siyar Bahadurzada.

Thatch lives and breathes Muay Thai technique, and he comes out looking like the stereotypical Thai fighter, firing off low kicks, keeping his head on a straight plane, and working the clinch and knees hard. Bahadurzada is all power punching, hunting for the American’s head like it owes him money – and he’s successful with it, forcing Thatch to take things to the ground with about a minute and a half left in the round.

When they’re on the canvas, the most certainly fight like two guys who’ve spent most of their combative sport lives upright, but whatever. The round ends with them slowly rising against the cage and throwing leather.

Thatch comes out banging in Round 2 and backs his foe up against the cage. In response, Bahadurzada grabs him, lifts him up and takes him down, and settles into Thatch’s guard. Eventually referee John McCarthy stands them up, but it’s maybe a scant 20 seconds later that Bahadurzada secures another takedown to work some sloppy ground and pound. It isn’t pretty. Still, it’s probably enough to give Bahadurzada the round.

If Thatch was hoping to avoid the takedown in Round 3, walking into a solid left hand didn’t help his cause. Instead, it had him falling back to the mat with Bahadurzada resuming onslaught from within Thatch’s guard. Another referee standup and another takedown and it’s clear as day that the American has zero skills when it comes to the grappling that’s essential to success in the sport. Perhaps to accentuate that point, Bahadurzada traps Thatch’s arm, passes his weak half-guard, and cinches a head/arm choke. Thatch can do nothing but tap out.


Result: Siyar Bahadurzada def. Brandon Thatch via Submission (Head/Arm Choke) at 4:11, R3