Who is Paulo Thiago (10-0)? That’s a question a lot of fans are wondering. Not much is known about Thiago outside of Brazil other than he is getting the opportunity that few others making their UFC debut receive. On February 21st at the O2 arena in London at UFC 95 he will face off against number four ranked welterweight contender Josh Koscheck (12-3).
Koscheck has faced the top of the food chain as far as UFC welterweights go, having wins over Chris Lytle, Dustin Hazelett and Diego Sanchez. He has also taken GSP and Thiago Alves, both of whom are considered by many to be the top two fighters in the division, to decision. Although Koscheck lost both fights, he showed a lot of heart and tenacity proving that even the best in the world could not stop him.
Paulo is coming into the UFC with an undefeated record of 10-0. Like the majority of fighters from Brazil his submission skills are his strength, but his last fight was a TKO stoppage of Luiz Dutra Jr. at Jungle Fight 11 back in September of 2008. Jungle Fight is a respected MMA promotion out of Brazil who has featured such top UFC fighters as Stephan Bonnar and Lyoto Machida on their cards.
So the big question is how is this unknown fighter going to handle making his debut against a top tier fighter? Is he going to be star struck like so many others or is he going to be a Houston Alexander and come in and shock everybody by defeating a top guy? Fans will remember Alexander as the little known guy who KO’d top ten light heavyweight Keith Jardine at UFC 71.
Another question is why the UFC is bringing in this unknown prospect to fight one of top welterweights who is trying to make his way toward the number one contender spot? What will Koscheck gain if he does win? People will say he was supposed to win. If he loses, then Paulo Thiago becomes an instant “star” within the UFC. It is a risky move to make for the UFC to take an unknown undefeated 10-0 fighter and automatically give him this opportunity in his first fight. Some people will say it makes no sense. One thing is for sure though, Paulo Thiago is not one of those people.
UFC 95 will take place this Saturday, February 21, 2009 in London, England. The event will air free in the U.S. on SPIKE TV.