By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Thiago Alves has been to the top of the heap in the UFC’s welterweight division, getting his crack at UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre on the biggest event the company has had to date at UFC 100. However, Alves was thoroughly dominated for 25 minutes in the fight, losing a decision to GSP.
Since that fight in 2009, he’s struggled to get back to the top, going just 2-2 in his last four fights. The most recent of those fights was an excellent performance against Papy Abedi, though, where he notched his first-ever submission victory in the UFC. Now, he meets Martin Kampmann this Friday night in the main event of UFC on FX 2 in Australia, and hopes to get himself back up the rankings with a big performance.
“The Thiago Alves that fought GSP was not prepared to fight at that level at all,” Alves said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “I beat all the guys, I earned the title shot, not like most of the people that fought for the title that fought one guy. I actually cleaned out the welterweight division except (Jon) Fitch. But for that fight I didn’t prepare myself well, mentally I wasn’t prepared for that kind of pressure. The magnitude of the show.”
“That was part of the process. I know my future’s going to be beautiful; it’s going to be bright. It was just part of the process to get to that state of mind that I have right now. Everything changed in my life. I live just for the fight.”
Alves believes he’s got an advantage over Kampmann in many areas, and sees this fight to be in his favor in a big way.
“I know I’ve got the power and explosion advantage. We’re going to try and break Martin Kampmann,” Alves said. “It doesn’t matter where the fight goes. It’s going to be my fight. I’m very concerned with what I’m going to do to him. I’m going to try to break him whether it’s in the stand-up or on the ground.”
“I have all the respect in the world for Martin Kampmann and his camp, but I truly believe that I’m going to break him, it doesn’t matter where the fight goes.”
Penick’s Analysis: Alves has the tools to be one of the best fighters at 170 lbs., but he’s got some holes in his game that he hasn’t completely shored up. He’s had a couple uneven performances in the Octagon over the last few years, and hasn’t fought up to his potential to this point in his career. The Abedi fight saw him take out an overmatched opponent, and it will be much more impressive if he can do something similar to a fighter on Kampmann’s level. He’s only 28-years-old, and if he can put everything together he absolutely can stay in the mix at the top for years to come, but he has to show that he can be consistent with that before anyone can take a ton of stock in him.