by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
American Kickboxing Academy is quickly making Paulo Thiago the Sisyphus of mixed martial arts. Instead of pushing a boulder uphill, he’s tasked with running through the San Jose, Calif. team’s roster of welterweights.
Even after Josh Koscheck on Monday pulled out of their scheduled rematch at UFC 109, Thiago will still face an AKA fighter on Super Bowl weekend. Within hours of Koscheck’s withdrawal, MMAFighting.com reported and MMAWeekly.com independently confirmed, teammate Mike Swick would step in to face the Brazilian.
Koscheck (14-4) and Thiago (12-1) met previously at UFC 95 in London, where Thiago stunned The Ultimate Fighter original, finishing him by way of TKO just past the midway point of the opening round. UFC 109 was to be Koscheck’s shot at redemption, although another of his teammates, Jon Fitch, already defeated Thiago via unanimous decision at UFC 100.
Thiago will now face Swick (14-3), who has gone 4-1 since uprooting to move down a weight class to welterweight. Swick dropped a decision to title contender Dan Hardy at UFC 105 and will be looking to get back on track, while Thiago tries to build on a win over Jacob Volkmann at UFC 106.
UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture and Mark Coleman headline UFC 109 on Feb. 6 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.