If Thiago Tavares was going to prove his worth to the UFC and in the lightweight division after losing to Khabib Nurmgodemov - where he not only lost, but tested positive for a banned substance - then he did about as well as could given the circumstances at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil on Saturday night. Tavares positively blew the doors off of his American opponent Justin Salas, stopping him with a rear-naked choke at 2:38 of round 1.
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There was never really a moment where Salas was in the bout. While Salas stopped one takedown early, he couldn't keep Tavares off of him. The Brazilian was eventually able to score a double leg scoop slam, which was basically the beginning of the end.
From there Tavares methodically worked to Salas back where he flattened the American out with both hooks in and sunk the rear naked choke, forcing the tap from Salas.
"It was very emotional, especially after the year I had," Tavares said after the bout. "I confess that many times I stopped believing. After a year off, after a loss to Khabib following good victories, with a tough athlete like Justin Salas in front of me. I had many difficulties. And then, to make matters worse, I got a cut on my eyebrow warming up. I was almost unable to fight, but they managed to make the bleeding stop. It was yet another obstacle. But I got my win with my jiu-jitsu."
Tavares jumps to 18-5-1 in mixed martial arts while Salas drops to 11-4.