Round 1 - Referee Jason Hezog oversees this welterweight affair. Thiago takes the center, though he has to avoid a few punching leaps from Sanchez. Thiago stalks and tries to keep his foe at bay with jabs. Sanchez lands a few stiff jabs, though Thiago is there to answer. Sanchez shoots, but Thiago sprawls beautifully and lands a few knees as he holds on to the clinch. Sanchez tries to drop for a takedown, but Thiago answers with ample defense. They break from the clinch after a missed Thiago knee. Sanchez comfortable fighting with his back next to the cage. Thaigo pushing in cautiously. He ducks in for a bodylock and trips Sanchez to the floor. Thiago in half-mount. Sanchez turns in, and Thiago looks to lick in the D'arce. It's close, but Sanchez stands. Thiago looks to continue with the attack, bit Sanchez finally pulls free. One minute left. Sanchez lands a right hand. He flurries against the cage, though Thiago wraps him up with overhooks and stalls the action. Sanchez ducks for a takedown, and Thaigo controls the head.Thaigo spins off and delivers a flurry in the closing seconds. MMAjunkie.com sees the first for Thiago, 10-9.
Round 2 - Thiago stalking again early. Sanchez looks a little more reserved, and Thiago makes him pay with three punches against the cage. Sanchez shoots in, and Thiago shows excellent balance while sprawling. Thiago tries to deliver a massive acrobatic upkick, but it winds up allowing Sanchez to settle in on top. Facing backward, Sanchez tries to attack the ankle. Thiago defends, and Sanchez sins to take a more traditional top position. Thiago turns immediately to lock in a kimura. Sanchez defends it well. Thiago drives in an elbow, and Herzog calls for time. Perhaps to the back of the head? Sanchez is fine, and they restart in the position.Sanchez snaps the arm over on the restart, but Sanchez meticulously works it free after a few tense moments. Sanchez attacks from top. Thiago rolls him over in a beautiful sweep, but Sanchez scrambles back up and hoists Thiago up. Massive slam brings the crowd to its feet. Thiago is attacking from the bottom position, but it's unlikely he's scoring many points. Sanchez steps over and tries to take the back. Thaigo defends it well, but Sanchez drives a few right hands in to the head. Thiago kneeling, and Sanchez tries to take the back. Thiago comes out the back door and fires off a combination. Crowd rewards the great round when it expires. MMAjunkie.com gives it to Sanchez, 10-9.
Round 3 - Thiago looked exhausted in his corner between rounds. Early clinch, and Sanchez drives Thiago to his back. Thiago grabs the right arms and tries for a kimura before transitioning to a straight armbar. Sanchez survives both and takes the back in a scramble. Hook are in, and he rolls Thiago over. Thiago controlling the arm well, so Sanchez tries to punch and adjust. Thiago kneeling, and Sanchez drives in a few right hands. He returns to the choke as they fall over to the side. Thiago continues to defends well, but he's in a bad spot. Thiago rolls over, and Sanchez has mount briefly. Thaigo rolls again and there's a scramble. Thiago tries to stand but staggers back. As Sanchez chases in, Thaigo fires an upkick. Sanchez moves right through it and takes top. Sanchez postures, and Thiago tries for a knee bar. Sanchez in vintage form, though, and he steps out of it and jumps the back. He falls off, and Thaigo looks for that D'arce choke again. Sanchez pulls free and takes top position with less than a minute. Inspired performance by Sanchez. Thiago tries desperately to attack the leg in the closing seconds, but Sanchez pulls free and unloads shots form the top until the bell. MMAjunkie.com sees the final round for Sanchez, 10-9, and awards him the fight, 29-28. Diego Sanchez def. Paulo Thiago via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28).