On February 6, top 10 welterweight Paulo Thiago(12-1) brings his black belt jiujitsu back into the world famous Octagon against yet another member of the San Jose based American Kickboxing Academy.
With a 2-1 record in the UFC, Thiago holds a knockout win over Swicks teammate fellow top 10 welterweight Josh Koscheck and took Jon Fitch to a decision but was rendered a loss for his efforts. There*really isn't any shame at all in losing to the No. 2 ranked welterweight in the world Jon Fitch as Fitch has gone 11-1 in the UFC.
With that being said, Paulo followed up with a*very decisive victory over Jacob Volkmann back at UFC 106. Paulo dropped Volkmann several times in the*contest and*won every round of the fight dominating with solid punch combinations and quick transitions on the ground.*By doing so*he*picked up the unanimous decision*victory at UFC 106, which has led to this matchup at UFC 109.*
Now, let us consider the fact that Paulo was considered a huge underdog in the Koscheck fight and he proceeded to send Koscheck tumbling to the mat unconscious within the first round. Paulo did drop a decision to Jon Fitch at UFC 100*and was overpowered during the matchup by Fitch.
Stepping in against Volkmann, it was evident that Paulo had sought out the assistance of a strength and conditioning coach. Paulo's frame looked much more solid and it showed in the fight.*Paulo overpowered Volkmann in the transitions and*outmatched him in the clinch as well.*
Day to day training includes the assistance of fellow Nova Uniao fighters*Jose Aldo, Thales Leites, Marlon Sandro, and Ronys Torres. With the assistance provided by top level fighters, one can be safe to say that Paulo will be well prepared for his contest at UFC 109. With a decisive win over Swick, Paulo will undoubtedly cement his place as a top contender in the welterweight division for 2010.
Up next for the Nova Uniao black belt is Mike Swick(14-3). Swick dropped to the welterweight division from middleweight in hopes of maximizing his potential. Since then, Swick has compelled a 4-1 record since dropping to the welterweight division. However, in his last bout, the lone loss in the division came when Swick dropped a lop-sided decision to current No. 1 contender Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy.
Swick*was out-pointed rather decisively by Hardy but has claimed that he has found new motivation for fighting, stating in an interview with UFC.com "I feel like I've made it pretty far and now I want to make it all the way."
In order to do so, Swick has to become the aggressive fighter that got him to this point in his career. He must let his strikes go and show the ground game that submitted Joe Riggs and Steve Vigneault earlier in his career.
Swick possesses seven career knockouts with five of them coming in the first round, the most*recent T(KO) being against*Muay Thai standout*Ben Saunders at UFC 99. Swick has shown the skills needed to be*dangerous in the division but can he translate those skills into what is needed to be a title contender. **
For the American Kickboxing Academy trained fighter this may very well be the most important fight of his career as back-to-back losses in the UFC are never positive and would most certainly label him as a gatekeeper of the division.
The Nova Uniao black belt steps into a contest with the ultra popular Swick that has the potential of being not only the fight of the night, but in turn, is the matchup that can place him in the limelight of the welterweight title contenders in hopes of securing a matchup with current champion Georges St. Pierre in the latter part of 2010.