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Paulo Thiago, the fighter to watch in tonight’s UFC Fight Night in Brazil

Paulo Thiago, the fighter to watch in tonight’s UFC Fight Night in Brazil

Posted by Laura Zúñiga on September 13, 2014

After hitting a severe downturn in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, Paulo Thiago will look to make good on what will undoubtedly be his last chance to get back into UFC's win column.

Paulo Thiago is no stranger to high-pressure situations. Not only has he made a name for himself as professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, but he has also worked for years as a special ops police officer in Brazil, taking visits to some of the most notorious impoverished communities (a.k.a. favelas) in the world.

Thiago's combat sports career highlight was a shocking first round technical knockout win over then-top Welterweight standout Josh Koscheck at UFC 95. Since then, however, the hardened Brazilian has never reached similar heights, only amassing four wins in his last 11 fights.

Despite that fact, UFC has kept him in its roster, and he will compete again tonight (Sat., Sept. 13, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 51 against Sean Spencer inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil.

Thiago is currently on a two-fight UFC skid, with a vicious knockout loss to Brandon Thatch and an uninspired decision loss to Gusan Umalatov, respectively. A third straight defeat would be all but the nail in Thiago's proverbial UFC coffin.

Unfortunately, at this point, it's very difficult to see him breaking this dramatic nosedive.

It has reached a point where you could throw just about any UFC welterweight in there with Thiago and still have a reasonable doubt as to how he will do. He looks several steps slower, his skills are fading away with each passing fight. And 33 years old is not by any means young for a fighter, but to experience such a dramatic fall from grace is rather unprecedented.

In Spencer, Thiago faces not only a worthy UFC fighter, but one who is regarded as having a bright future. A former Middleweight, Spencer will come into this fight with a size advantage, among several other advantages. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that Thiago's only advantage heading into this fight is that it will be on his home soil, but even that has not been enough to lift him to wins in recent performances.

Ultimately, Thiago will have to have made drastic improvements to his game if he is to come out of this fight with any favorable result. Spencer is a game opponent, and probably won't be too put off by hostile fans. He knows more than likely knows that he is favored to win this fight.

If Thiago fails again later this evening, it all but spells the end of his once promising UFC career. And that would be a sad sight indeed. Bursting onto the scene so dramatically, only to fall in much the same way, is not a dreamy career by any means, but it could be that of Paulo Thiago come fight time.

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