Thiago Tavares plans drop to 145 following quick UFC win

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

GOIANIA, Brazil -- Thiago Tavares is back in the win column, and he wants a fresh start in the UFC.

Following a first-round submission victory over Justin Salas at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil, Tavares asked to be part of UFC Fight Night event in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, on Feb. 8, and that could be mark his debut as a featherweight.

"If the UFC approves it," Tavares said after the fight, "I'll be fighting at 145 in Jaragua do Sul."

Tavares leaves the final decision on his drop to the featherweight division in Joe Silva and Dana White's hands, as he feels he could still be a force in both divisions.

"Tonight, I've proved that I'm strong at 155," he said. "But I believe I could be even stronger and more competitive at 145. I'm a UFC fighter and I'll do anything they want, though. I have to work a lot to fight at 155, and I would easily make 145."

Tavares' perfect night at UFN 32, however, almost became a nightmare.

As he was warming up for the fight, the Brazilian suffered a cut when shooting for a takedown at teammate Nazareno Malegarie few moments before entering the cage, and Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) almost decided to cancel the bout.

"The doctor wanted to cancel the fight, but we stopped the bleeding," he said. "I cut my eyebrow 30 minutes before the fight, I couldn't even warm up or I would start bleeding again, but tonight was my night to be reborn."

When he finally entered the Octagon, he needed less than three minutes to finish Salas with a rear-naked choke.

"When I take my little friend to the ground, I know he's in trouble," he said. "I started in judo when I was 5 and in jiu-jitsu when I was 9, so I know I won as soon as I take my opponent to the ground. Sooner or later, I knew I would get the finish."

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