One significant story that has been methodically creeping under the media's radar, mainstream and small-timers alike, is Paulo Thiago's willingness to battle an entire camp, the welterweight trio fighting out of San Jose, California.
The gym is the American Kickboxing Academy, AKA for short. Javier Mendez, Bob Cook, and Dave Camarillo have helped ripen the inner potential of many high caliber fighters in the MMA world, including the likes of Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Cain Velasquez, Josh Thomson, and many more.
Josh Koscheck was given the pleasure of stopping the undefeated hype of the lethal B.O.P.E. officer-turned-fighter, Paulo Thiago. Unfortunately for Koscheck, a well-timed uppercut/left hook combo put him to sleep in the most wicked of fashions, before awaking from the crash landing to protest the just-stoppage.
Needless to say, regardless of how the fans felt about the Koscheck stoppage, nobody was sleeping on Thiago anymore, especially his next opponent in Jon Fitch, who was looking to avenge the loss of his good friend.
The Brazilian held his own, but the consensus number two welterweight forced his will on Thiago. Fitch ground his way to another unanimous decision victory in his typical fashion, sending Thiago back to the drawing boards.
Half a year later, Thiago was originally scheduled to rematch Koscheck, but an injury forced The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 fighter to withdraw from the contest. Filling in Koscheck's shoes and completing Thiago's AKA welterweight trifecta is another fellow AKA training partner, Mike Swick.
Both parties are looking to gain the edge in the current one-one tie, and if the past were to indicate anything, this could be a bad night for AKA.
In his fights, it's hard to get Thiago off of his game, unless his opponent is an accomplished wrestler who's a few steps beyond the rest.
Thiago's first two UFC bouts came against some of the division's best wrestlers. The one that stuck to his dominant style secured the victory.
Although Swick trains with the wrestling prowess of Koscheck, Fitch, Velasquez, and Thomson almost on a daily basis, his skill set just doesn't compare. In fact, it could be completely nullified by the extremely proficient grappling ability of Thiago.
The multi-dangerous Brazilian is a humbled owner of black belts in the art of Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo, which means that if Thiago gets a hold of his opponent, he'll likely wind up in a precarious situation on his back.
This will likely mean that the fight will stay standing for some time. As Swick is known to love his striking attack, Thiago is also known to prefer the striking game as of late, with continuous improvement in his already underrated hands.
Another lesser-known or often over-looked fact of Thiago is his training camp. While many writers rant and rave about Swick coming out of AKA, they seem to overlook Thiago's allegiance with the Black House team. Working with three current champions has got to give him the edge in training.
On paper, some would say these two are practically even. While Thiago has been facing stiffer competition recently, Swick has been pouring his blood, sweat, and tears inside the octagon for many years.
This Saturday, February 6th, in the midst of Superbowl weekend, the saga of Paulo Thiago versus American Kickboxing Academy will finally be resolved.