What's the story?
Following his unanimous win over Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 137, Octagon veteran Thales Leites officially announced his retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, closing out of a 15-year career.
In case you didn't know...
Thales Leites made his UFC debut in 2006 at The Ultimate Fighter 4 finale, losing out to Danish kickboxer Martin Kampmann in his first fight inside the Octagon. Following a few split decision wins and losses over Nate Marquardt and Alessio Sakara respectively, Leites was eventually cut-off by the UFC and was released from the promotion.
After his release from the UFC, Leites won three massive fights in his Post-UFC career and was eventually re-signed by the promotion in 2013. And in his return fight, the Brazilian defeated Tom Watson via unanimous decision at UFC 163.
Within the next few years, Leites would also share the Octagon with the likes of former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping, Gerard Mousasi, Brad Tavares, and very recently against Jack Hermansson, who defeated Leites at UFC 224 via TKO, marking his first Knockout loss in his Professional MMA career.
The heart of the matter
At UFC Fight Night 137, Thales Leites earned himself a hard-fought back-and-forth win over the first ever Bellator Middleweight World Champion, Hector Lombard. Having started the fight in a pretty dominant manner, Lombard definitely did have the upper hand in the first round of the fight, but much to Leites' credit, the 36-year-old then made up for lost ground by finishing strong in the final two rounds of the fight.
Leites, who eventually defeated Lombard via split decision following a final judges scorecard of 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, officially confirmed his retirement from the sport after the fight, as he went bowed out of the game with a final win over the legendary Hector Lombard.
"It's unbelievable, I can’t describe this moment. I have to thank everyone who has helped me throughout this. We come in here, we leave it all in the cage, I’ve been through a lot in the Octagon. My coaches believed in me, they told me to let my hands go, and that’s what I did.”- Leites stated after the fight.
Thales Leites was quite arguably one of the most experienced veterans of the game and we certainly wish him the best in his life after MMA.