File Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former UFC middleweight title contender Thales Leites will collide with Jesse Taylor under the Maximum Fighting Championship banner in the MFC 25 “Vindication” main event on May 7 at the Northlands Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“This is a main event matchup that could easily become a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate,” MFC President Mark Pavelich said in a release. “I love Jesse Taylor’s aggressive nature, and he is coming here with bad intentions on his mind. And Thales Leites has a newfound desire to showcase his raw power and talent.”
Spawned by the Nova Uniao camp, Leites has rattled off back-to-back wins since being cut by the UFC following his split decision loss to American Top Team’s Alessio Sakara at UFC 101 in August. The 28-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt last appeared in February, when he submitted Rico Washington Sr. with an arm-triangle choke at a Bitetti Combat Nordest event. Victories over former middleweight King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt, Drew McFedries, Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons and Lucio Linhares anchor his stellar resume. In 19 professional bouts, Leites has never been finished.
Taylor, the exiled finalist on Season 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” has posted eight wins in 10 fights. The 27-year-old Team Quest standout submitted fellow UFC castaway Jason Day with a first-round rear-naked choke at an Aggression MMA show in February, halting a two-fight losing streak. A two-time collegiate All-American wrestler, Taylor has competed inside the Strikeforce, Dream and Shark Fights promotions since being pruned from the UFC roster in wake of his submission loss to C.B. Dollaway in July 2008.
“Neither one of these guys is going to sit back and let the fight come to him; they are going to step up and bring it,” Pavelich said. “There is a title shot at stake here, and both of these guys are coveting the MFC championship belt.”
MFC 25 will feature six other UFC veterans, including American Top Team’s Wilson Gouveia and Luigi Fioravanti.