An experienced boxer, Souza, looked relaxed in the first round and dominated the muay thay specialist in the striking area during the first five minutes. However, a hand injury almost put him in a world of trouble.
"I felt my hand early in the first round, when I threw the first punch," Souza told MMAFighting.com on Sunday. "In the second round, the pain was excruciating. I told Thiago Tavares between the first round that I had broken my hand, and he told me to close my fist and keep punching because I was doing well. I broke my hand in two places. I couldn’t throw my right hand anymore. I stunned him in the third round, but I couldn’t finish the combination."
Thiago Tavares, Souza’s manager and coach, plans to have the featherweight undergo surgery Firday.
"Thiago Tavares just told me he spoke with a good doctor from Florianopolis, and I expect to do the surgery tomorrow," Souza said.
Despite the broken hand, Souza was able to win the fight by decision, marking the first time he wasn’t able to finish an opponent in 14 professional wins.
"I can’t tell how would I have done if I hadn’t broken my hand because Felipe is a really tough fighter," he said. "I couldn’t keep the pressure after I broke my hand, and I was more cautious. When he took me down at the end of the third, I couldn’t stand back up because my hand was hurting so bad. So I decided to stay there and just defend myself because I was sure I had done enough to win already."
Souza celebrates the perfect start to his UFC career, having defeated a guy that was 2-1-1 inside the Octagon before UFC Fight Night 28.
"I fought and defeated a guy that had four UFC fights, so it was the perfect debut for me," he said. "He was on a great streak, defeated Antonio Carvalho and Godofredo Castro, and I believe he also deserved the win when he fought Milton Vieira to a draw, I need to work on some things in my game, but I’ll be back stronger and more focused. UFC is my home now."