Thales Leites Cut by UFC Following Loss to Alessio Sakara
Ariel Shnerer / August 12, 2009 - 7:58pm
Former UFC middleweight title contender Thales Leites has been released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The Fight Network learned of Leites' release from sources close to the Brazilian fighter.
Leites (14-3) lost a unanimous decision to middleweight-turned-welterweight contender Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut at "The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale" in November 2006, only to rebound with five straight wins.
A split decision win over Nate Marquardt, followed by a first-round submission of Drew McFedries, was enough to earn Leites a middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 97 in April.
Leites dropped a less than spectacular unanimous decision to Silva in the fight, although he is the only person in the UFC to take "The Spider" all five rounds.
From main event to undercard, Leites was pitted against journeyman Alessio Sakara last Saturday at UFC 101 in a fight many expected him to win easily. But the Italian striker ended up notching a split decision, thus bringing Leites' UFC tenure to an end.
Despite unimpressive back-to-back losses, the Rio de Janeiro native has compiled a respectable 5-3 record since joining the promotion with his wins coming against McFedries, Marquardt, Ryan Jensen, Floyd Sword and Pete Sell.
Prior to being signed by the UFC in 2006, Leites had never lost a fight with victories against the likes of Lucio Linhares, Gustavo Machado, Jason Guida and Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons.