Thales Leites tasted success for the first time since exiting the UFC. Against Dean Lister, the Jiu-Jitsu black belt returned to his winning ways via unanimous decision. The fight at Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC), held in the cold of the Canadian winter, earned Leites a shot at the belt at the next event, according to the Brazilian black belt.
How did the fight with Dean Lister go?
It went well. I had already put it in my head that I would be more aggressive and look to fight standing as well. That’s what I did, I worked on kicking his thing and landed several of them. Lister is a really dangerous guy and I knew he would try and take me down and go for the kneebar or heelhook; he has a really refined ground game. He tried to take me down and I used my elbows and threw left-handed punches well. I had to defend his takedowns, but, truth is, I was never in any danger. I did well standing and on the ground.
When do you fight again?
I have one more fight on my contract with the event, which should be in February or early March. I don’t know whether it will be against Bryan Baker, Jason MacDonald or Travis Lutter. Probably against Baker for the belt. I don’t think there is a champion of my division there. I saw other people with belts in the other divisions, so Baker and I would be contenders for this title, which is vacant. That’s what they said at the press conference. Nevertheless, the bout could be against any of the three I mentioned (on the organization’s website the possibility of facing MacDonald is mentioned).
Canada has a lot of MMA fans. What was the MFC like?
The event was good, well organized. The difference is in that it uses a ring. It wasn’t an enormous gymnasium, like when the UFC goes to Canada, but it was packed. It was in a city further north, in Edmonton and it was cold, there was a snow storm and it hit 15 below zero. Even so a good crowd went to watch, there were no empty places. It was broadcast on HDNet and was great.
Did you feel much difference in fighting in a ring again?
It didn’t hinder me at all and I felt no difference. In the gym we train in a ring and it was chill. Everything went smoothly, thank God.