While many fans and analysts seem content to complain about the perceived shortcomings of the UFC 109 card, I choose to look for the silver lining, and the welterweight matchup between Mike “Quick” Swick and Paulo Thiago is that silver lining.
Paulo Thiago is still not a name that many casual MMA fans know, and that is a shame because he is one of the most complete fighters in the division. His striking is clean and crisp and his BJJ is off the charts.
Comfortable wherever the fight takes place, Thiago has all the tools needed to be a serious threat to every welterweight under the UFC banner. Throw in the fact that he trains with arguably the best camp in all of MMA, Black House, and he is someone to keep your eye on.
As tough and talented as Thiago is, though, I just have a hard time seeing him get the better of Mike Swick and running his record against AKA to 2-1.
Clearly the advantage on the ground goes to the BJJ black belt Thiago, but Swick isn’t exactly a fish out of water on the ground. All of that time spent training with Dave Camarillo and grappling machine Jake Shields is more than enough to keep Swick out of trouble should this fight go to the ground.
Getting the fight to the ground in the first place is going to be the real roadblock for Thiago, a Judo black belt, in this fight. While Swick may not have the amateur wrestling credentials that teammates Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck have, he does have an excellent sprawl, good balance, and solid takedown defense overall.
On the feet, Swick is head and shoulders above what Thiago brings to the table. Yes, Thiago has shown some knockout power in the past, but his technique is still lacking. Swick has the hand speed and the precision to put the Brazilian into trouble early and often.
Bottom line, Swick wins this fight either by TKO early or by controlling the action and earning a Unanimous Decision. I’m leaning toward UD because Thiago is a very tough competitor.
Swick may not be a title contender, but he is by no means an easy out. Come Saturday, Swick will be ready to re-establish his position within the welterweight division.