by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Heading into UFC 95 no one knew much about the Brazilian Paulo Thiago making his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at the O2 Arena in London against top five ranked welterweight Josh Koscheck. But after a perfectly placed uppercut followed by a left hand, the world now knows who he is.
For Koscheck, he was working his way back to title contention, accepting fights often against anyone the UFC put in front on him. But his route back to No. 1 contender status was derailed at the 3:29 mark of round one.
The two circled early trying to set up that one big shot. Koscheck landed a few solid right hands, testing the chin of Thiago. The American Kickboxing Academy trained Koscheck appeared to be finding his rhythem and establishing his jab when Thiago stepped in with an uppercut – left hand combination that sent Koscheck crashing to the canvas. As Thiago dropped his hands in celebration, the referee stopped the fight.
Paulo Thiago improved his undefeated record to 11-0 and immediately became a force in the 170-pound division. An upset Koscheck didn’t like the stoppage, but the replay showed he was knocked out and the referee made the right decision.
In other welterweight action, Dan Hardy delivered a counter-left hook knocking out Mileitch trained Rory Markham just 69 second into their match up.
When UFC matchmaker Joe Silva put together the Hardy and Markham bout, many thought it had the makings of a “Fight of the Night” candidate. It started slow with each feeling their opponent out, circling and working for an angle to attack.
Markham decided to push the pace and as he missed with a right hand, Hardy fired back landing a left-hook that knocked Markham out. Hardy followed Markham to the mat landing one more shot for good measure before the referee called a halt to the fight.
“No punching power, huh? He’s known for his punching power and to be honest, I’m not really known for that,” said the mohawked brit in his post-fight interview. “He’s a very aggressive fighter and as he stepped in with that punch, I knew he’d be open and boom there it is.”
UFC 95 FULL RESULTS:
-Diego Sanchez def. Joe Stevenson Unanimous Dec. at 5.00, R3
-Dan Hardy def. Rory Markham by KO, 1.09 R1
-Nathan Marquardt def. Wilson Gouveia by TKO, 3:10 R3
-Demian Maia def. Chael Sonnen by Submission (Triangle Choke) 2.37 R1
-Paulo Thiago def. Josh Koscheck by KO, 3.29 R1
-Terry Etim def. Brian Cobb by TKO, 0.10 R2
-Junior dos Santos def. Stefan Struve by TKO, 0.54 R1
-Evan Dunham def. Per Eklund by KO, 2.14 R1
-Mike Ciesnolevicz def. Neil Grove by Submission (Heel Hook) 1.03 R1
-Paul Kelly def. Troy Mandaloniz by Unanimous Dec. at 5.00, R3