It is no secret that the UFC wants fighters to finish fights. The axiom of ‘don’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges’ is a testament to that fact. Finishes are what sells fights for the UFC; just look at the UFC 169 promo of the Faber vs Barao Bantamweight title fight: ’24 finishes compared to 21’.
The UFC has even gone so far as to release high quality fighters who are notorious for not finishing fights. Last year, perennial contenders Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch were given the axe due to their failure to finish fights in the UFC. The UFC also tends to promote more heavily the men and women that can finish their opponents. Unfortunately, this leaves some extremely talented fighters to fly under the radar. Look no further than UFC Fight Night 35’s big winner, Brad Tavares.
The UFC has not exactly given Brad Tavares the attention he deserves. Before defeating Lorenz Larkin this past Wednesday night, Tavares had won four straight, all by decision. Tavares was dominant in all of his outings, and has continued to impress the critics each time out. His run since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter has been unheralded and unexpected to say the least.
In seven UFC fights leading up to this past Wednesday’s event, Tavares had fought six times on the preliminary card. Finally, Tavares was given some recognition by the UFC when he was given the opening bout on the main card against Bubba McDaniel at UFC Fight Night 27. Tavares defeated McDaniel by decision, pushing his streak to four straight. That win granted Tavares the co-main event billing on the UFC Fight Night 35 card against rising prospect, Lorenz Larkin.
Tavares handled his business, dominating Larkin for three rounds en route to his fifth straight victory. While he did not get a finish, Tavares’ impressive performance has definitely earned him the right to be in the UFC’s top 10-15 in the Middleweight division.
The UFC can no longer ignore Tavares, and he will get a big name opponent in his next fight. Tavares stated before the fight with Larkin that he was hoping for a big name opponent. Now, with another win on his record, he can look forward to bigger and better things.
Finishes or not, Brad Tavares is a legit fighter and someone to look out for in 2014. As he stated previously ‘every next fight is the biggest fight of my career’. Expect to hear a lot more from Tavares in the coming months as he moves up the ranks in the UFC’s Middleweight division.