The UFC Fight Night 27 preliminary card sees another exciting fight in the welterweight division as son of seven-time Sabaki champion Clarence Thatch and rising talent Brandon ‘Rukus’ Thatch (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) fighting out of Grudge Training Center makes his UFC debut against submission specialist and TUF alumni Justin Edwards (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the night’s third televised preliminary fight.
Thatch is making his UFC debut after winning nine of his last ten fights with six knockouts and three submissions, finishing his opponent in the first round of all nine victories and six of those first round finishes being inside of the first minute. It is quite surprising that the UFC has not hyped Thatch more coming into this fight as he seems to possess the exciting, explosive style that UFC fans are drawn to. Thatch’s lone career loss, his second only professional MMA fight, was his first and only fight under the Strikeforce promotion where he lost by split decision against Brandon Magana in 2008. He has since finished eight straight opponents in the first round.
Justin Edwards, part of the Lesnar vs. Dos Santos series, has found himself alternating between wins and losses inside the UFC going an even 2-2 since signing following season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite losing both his first fight in TUF and his first fight in the UFC, Edwards has remained part of the roster for over two years most recently earning his a win with a guillotine over Josh Neer. Edwards is a very durable opponent for the explosive finisher in ‘Rukus,’ having never been finished in his professional career as a mixed martial artist. Edwards is also no stranger to finishing his opponents as he’s earned seven finishes out of eight wins, six of them by way of submission, five submissions being consecutive. Edwards go-to submission is the guillotine which was used to finish five of his six submission victories.
If there is any x-factor in this fight it is that welterweight champion George St. Pierre took note of Brandon Thatch’s stand up and deemed it at a level high enough to bring him in for his successful training camps against both Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, which recently had Thatch training with some of the best trainers and fighters in the world at Tristar. Thatch utilizes a very effective Muay Thai game where he explodes with knees, high kicks, and powerful punches but much like we saw in his loss against Magana his power and explosiveness may fade if the durable Edwards is able to survive past the early onslaught.
Prediction: Brandon Thatch def. Justin Edwards by KO in rd 1.
While Edwards is indeed a very durable opponent and a very good test for Thatch, the Muay Thai of Thatch will prove to be too much. Thatch has been well versed in MMA since a very young age where as Edwards picked it up after watching it on television in 2006 and this experience will show in the much more well rounded attack of ‘Rukus.’ Edwards will not have an answer for the “art of eight limbs” attack of Brandon Thatch resulting in another first round finish for Brandon Thatch.