Fresh off an underwhelming unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva, Thales Leites is hopping right back on the horse as he steps in for an injured Rousimar Palhares against Alessio Sakara at UFC 101.
Intheguard.tv was the first to report the match-up based upon statements made by Leites directly to the website.
Leites was awarded a shot at Silva’s middleweight crown after winning five straight fights following a loss in his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann. Leites who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and possesses some of the best submission skills in all of MMA was a heavy underdog going into his UFC 97 bout with Silva. For the majority of the fight Leites flopped onto his back in an attempt to bring Silva down to the canvas so that he could try and submit him. Leites’ stand-up leaves a lot to be desired especially against an elite striker like Silva. The crowd booed the lack of activity and UFC President Dana White admitted he was embarrassed by the lackluster main event.
Sakara’s ride in the UFC has been a rocky up and down journey that saw him debut as a light heavyweight only to drop down to middleweight. He is currently 4-4 in the octagon and was victorious in his most recent bout against Joe Vedepo at UFC Fight Night 15 back in September of 2008. He landed a head kick that sent Vedepo crashing to the canvas. While his stand-up skills are good his ground skills leave a lot to be desired and if Leites is able to get him down it will only be a matter of time before he is submitted.
The two share one common opponent in Drew McFedries. Sakara lost via first round TKO to McFedries at UFC 65 in November of 2006 while Leites submitted McFedries with a rear naked choke just 1:18 in to their bout at UFC 90 last October.
UFC 101 is scheduled for August 8th and will be held at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although the bout has yet to be announced B.J. Penn will be defending his lightweight championship against Kenny Florian in the main event. In the night’s co-main event former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin will face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the Spider’s second bout at 205lbs.