Amid much talk and lots of speculation as well as questions from fans, Dana White, and the media, Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (22-5) easily made Friday’s weight cut, coming in 171 pounds.
Looking confident and trim, Alves came out wearing a black T-shirt with the words,“The Dolce Diet” in bright yellow boldly inscribed across his chest, a diet he credits for helping him trim down.
Amidst thunderous cheers from the fans at the packed Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he’s scheduled to fight John “Doomsday” Howard (14-5) Saturday night, the two fighters squared off with a smiling Dana White standing behind them.
JC Santana, Founder and CEO of IHPFIT (www.ihpfit.com), an elite training facility in Boca Raton, Florida, well known for training dozens of MMA fighters and professional athletes, commented,
“Thiago needed some maturity in his camp. Up to now, he has been surrounded by ‘YES men’ that were more into ‘Pitbull’ than Thiago Alves. I trained Thiago when he first came to the US at 19-years-of-age, he knows me and he knows I don’t fall for the ‘Pitbull South Beach bullshit.’ I don’t give a shit what car he drives, how many girls like him, and what his persona is. I look at him like a son, a young man that needs a coach – not a friend.”
For Alves, it was his defining moment and as far as the brass at the UFC and Dana White…the only moment, as rumors swirled that Alves would have to move up to 185 pounds and fight in the middleweight division, a move that did not sit well with the Brazilian fighter.
So, he called in Mike Dolce (www.TheDolceDiet.com), a well-known nutritionist who fans may remember from season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Dolce has helped the likes of Rampage Jackson, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisbing get in top fighting form.
Dolce’s approach is a holistic one. He doesn’t use a sauna and prefers “real food grown as nature intended and ingested in quantities that are in harmony with the physiology and goals of the individual.” And his approach is hands on, as JC Santana explained,
“At first I was doubtful of the whole Mike Dolce thing. After all, why do you need someone to be with you at all times, cook for you, measure your food, make sure you stay focused? Well, Thiago needs that! Thiago likes to concentrate on training, not anything else, so when Mike came in, everything kicked into a higher gear. Thiago was actually early and dropped down as low as 184; with food and two gallons of water per day! So, a big UPS to MIKE DOLCE! Not only does he do his job, he is a great spirit, and a fantastic, respectful, positive person.”
But that was just the beginning of the foundation. Like a skilled carpenter building a house from the ground floor up, Alves methodically and conscientiously kicked up his training program as well.
Seth Jordan, Senior Trainer at IHPFIT commented,
“From a strength and conditioning aspect, I feel that Thiago is one of the strongest 170-pound fighters in the UFC. Also, he is conditioned to survive the full fight, should it go the distance. I feel that due to his strength and conditioning he can control the pace of the fight, take John Howard out of his game and into Thiago’s game. I feel that no one has prepared themselves to the same level that Thiago has.”
Tomorrow will be the real test however, as fans will get a chance to watch what some people are calling “the new Pitbull”, stonger, more focused and more determined to win than ever.
Basically, Santana feels John Howard has little more than a puncher’s chance against “Pitbull”. He said,
“Howard’s only chance is that big hand of his. Other than that, Thiago is the strongest at 170 and the harder striker, period. If Thiago gets on top, it’s over. If he strikes, he will hurt Howard unless he gets caught with the big bang!”
Something tells me we won’t be disappointed and we’ll see a fighter who is more ferocious than anyone thought a real pitbull could ever be.