On April 18 Thales Leites (14-1) will attempt to do what no one else in the UFC has been able to do. He will try to upset UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (23-4) from his throne. Leites is on an impressive five-fight win streak with his most recent victory coming at UFC 90 when he quickly submitted Drew McFedries in round one.
Silva who is arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world has destroyed everyone the UFC has thrown at him, hardly even losing a round in the process. However, if there is a chink in his armor, and it could very well just be a smudge and not a chink, it is his wrestling. Dan Henderson exposed this when he put Anderson Silva on his back in round one of their UFC 82 fight and laid some ground and pound on him. Travis Lutter also showed us that taking Silva down and putting him on his back seems to be his most vulnerable position.
Whether instinctively or following his coaches’ advice, Thales Leites is concentrating on the very aspects of his game that could give Anderson Silva the most problems. Leites has been training at Arizona Combat Sports with Ryan Bader and C.B. Dolloway to help work on his wrestling. He is also working with Jamie Varner, Carlos Condit, and wrestling coach Steve Simpson. Leites has also been emphasizing his boxing.
Undoubtedly the most important fight of his life, Leites appears to be taking the necessary steps to control all the variables in the fight. With the proper preparation all that is left to do is get in the Octagon at UFC 97 with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and see if he can make history.
Props – Tatame
By: Jack Bratcher