Friday, April 6, 2007


By Al Yu

Nova Uniao’s Thales Leites makes his return to the Octagon tomorrow night. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt will face Pete Sell on the undercard of UFC 69. Last November, Leites suffered his first professional loss, to Martin Kampmann, at the Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale.

“I was a bit nervous since it was my UFC debut,” revealed Leites. “The weather was dry and made it hard for me to breath. I felt a little tired because of it. However, Martin Kampmann fought very well and I don’t want to give any excuses. I have been thinking a lot about my mistakes after the fight.”

Talented Brazilian fighters have made their debut in the Octagon this past year. Thales’ teammate Gleison Tibau recently earned his first UFC victory and undefeated lightweight prospect Thiago Tavares debuted at UFC Fight Night last night with a win over Naoyuki Kotani. “I think it’s great,” elated Thales regarding the recent addition of Brazilian fighters. “In Brazil, there are many excellent fighters. This will help the UFC be more competitive.”

As one of the most reputable Jiu-Jitsu teams in Brazil, Nova Uniao is also home to fighters such as Joao Roque, Marcos Galvao, and most notably Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro. With two of their fighters already in the UFC, can we expect to see the debut of more Nova Uniao fighters in the future? “It depends on the UFC,” said Leites. “Nova Uniao has many excellent fighters who are waiting for the opportunity to fight in the Octagon.”

At UFC 69, Leites’ opponent will be Pete Sell. The Serra Jiu-Jitsu fighter is coming off of a tough KO loss to Scott Smith. “He is a great fighter and is very dangerous,” commented Thales. “I’m trained very hard for this fight and I worked on my striking a lot.”

Both fighters look to rebound from losses. A win for Leites would put the Brazilian fighter back in the chase for the UFC middleweight title.

“I would like to thank my fans. They can expect to see a warrior in the Octagon.”

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