(Pictured: what Thiago needs to win the fight.)
The rumor going around right now is that Paulo Thiago will make his much anticipated return to the Octagon on July 11th. Who is his possible opponent on the kind-of-a-big-deal UFC 100 card? None other than Jon “THE DON” Fitch. Thiago will now have to pay the piper – with interest – for his cataclysmic stoppage over Josh Koscheck at UFC 95; a stoppage that brought to mind Jared Hamman vs. Po’ai Suganuma and the aroma of butt. Mostly the aroma of butt.
MMA Mania actually interjects an opinion for once (bad move if you want credentials), obviously making reference to the fact that it’s a mismatch:
He isn’t getting any free passes now that he’s in the big leagues – the promotion appears to be throwing him right in the deep end with some of the best the division has to offer.
Now it’s MY dogmatic opinion that the dude sucks. If Paulo Thiago can somehow pull another KO out of thin air, I will stop hating on the guy. It’s a huuuuge “if” though. I’ve said before that we saw none of his game in the Koscheck fight besides the Jason Lambert-like ability to not protect himself and get punched up as a result. For all we know, he’s the fighter who goes out, gets roughed up and then lands a stoppage; it could be his gimmick, we don’t know yet. Maybe he’s like Strong Guy from X-Factor: he absorbs kinetic energy and then can expend it himself. Hey, I’m willing to admit it could be the case. There are guys like that out there. The current undefeated Light-Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans is a slow starter who drops the first five to ten minutes of a fight like they violated sponsorship rules.
Bottom line: Paulo has to win this fight, either for his career or to justify any kind of contract he has now. If (when) Jon Fitch tears through him like Leatherface, Thiago will have had a successful 2.5 seconds of offense in the UFC. That would be UNACCEPTABLE of a fighter in the top ten.
Speaking of which: Sherdog is ridiculous enough to put Paulo in sixth place, but MMA Weekly’s policy of not ranking fighters higher than other people they’ve beaten makes sense to me now. “But Rodriguez,” you say in between deep breaths and fistfuls of Cheetos, “why are you taking MMA Weekly’s ranking’s side?” Well, I’m doing so for two reasons: one – it completely disregards the facts that don’t support my biased agenda, which is what evidence is asposed to do, and two – shut up. Shut your mouth.
Don’t get it twisted, though, Jon Fitch has to win this fight even more. He’s the one who is legitimately in the top ten, he’s the one who actually has a long-term contract, he’s the one who is a star and he’s the one who has revenge to serve up cold. And it’s this reporter’s prediction that he will. UFC 100 is going to be THE biggest mixed martial arts show of all time, and Fitch has the perfect storyline that can drum up a ton of interest in the fight. He will be ready. He’s gonna blow through Paulo so bad they’ll start playing “Flight of the Valkyries” over the PA system.
But hey, if Thiago can stay competitive or – Jeebus help us – win, then he’ll put himself in line for a shitle tot against St-Pierre – the Shao Kahn at the top of the Welterweight mountain.