by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com (reporting by Damon Martin)
Thales Leites will step in for countryman Rousimar Palhares to face Alessio Sakara at UFC 101.
Leites confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Monday after an initial report from intheguard.tv that Palhares had broken his leg in training and withdrew from the fight scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
Palhares’ coach and trainer, Murilo Bustamante, said his student would remain out of action until the end of the year.
“But right now, I can tell that Sakara is the luckiest man in the world,” said Bustamante.
Leites is fresh off a losing effort against middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva in a bout that drew furious criticism for both sides of the cage. Leites appeared unwilling to engage the vaunted striker after failing to take him down in early rounds, and spent much of the fight’s remainder disengaging Silva or unsuccessfully provoking a ground battle.
Leites said his first and foremost task was to erase the memories of the defeat.
“What is most important is getting back to fighting as soon as possible,” Leites told Martins Denis. “I know that I didn’t fight well, that things didn’t go as I wanted, so nothing is better than starting again. style=”mso-spacerun: yes”>
“I know that the expectations will be enormous, because now I need to show that I deserve another shot at the title. But this is good, it will give more motivation.”
Sources close to the fight said the loser of the bout would likely be cut from the UFC.