We are leading up to the UFC 130 main event, but in this edition we’ll be highlighting a welterweight battle between Rick “The Horror” Story and Thiago “Pitbull” Alves in what should be a terrific fight.
Rick Story comes into this fight with an overall record of (12-3) with 3 wins via TKO/KO and 3 wins via submission. Story has won his last five fights after losing his UFC debut against John Hathaway. Story is gritty, durable, and has a good wrestling base. He reminds of Jon Fitch to a degree, but is more aggressive in bringing the fight to his opponents.
Story called out Alves after his last victory over wrestling powerhouse Johnny Hendricks, so there must be something in Alves game that Story feels he can exploit. It’s probably Alves cardio and takedown defense in which we saw Jon Fitch find those holes to grind a victory out against Alves last year.
Thiago Alves comes into this fight with an overall record of (18-7) with 11 wins via TKO/KO and 1 win via submission. Alves won his last fight against John “Doomsday” Howard after losing a decision to the aforementioned Jon Fitch. Prior to the Fitch fight, Alves had been out of action for over a year due to a medical situation that required surgery on his brain. Alves is a huge welterweight with very good striking skills and good power in his strikes.
Linesmaker has Alves as the betting favorite at (-200) and Story as the underdog at (+160).
The key to this fight for Story will be to apply constant pressure to Alves the entire fight. Alves doesn’t like to be crowded, nor taken down and placed on his back and Story is quite capable of doing both of those things. It’ll just come down to gauging his range carefully and avoiding getting into a striking battle with Alves. I would expect Story to put Alves against the cage and initiate a clinch game to try and work a takedown of some sorts. Alves has solid takedown defense, but it’s not even close to being elite so Story could have some success.
Alves loves to throw legkicks, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll continue that against Story as they could result into him being taken down as well. Alves is almost totally defensive on his back, and Story has a solid base with a strong top game. Alves is the favorite in the fight because he has fought tougher competition overall and has a pretty dynamic skillset. If he connects with strikes he has the ability to put anyone away. However, I’m rolling with Story in this one for the upset. I think he’ll be able to take Alves down and do enough damage from the top to grind out a decision win in what could turn out to be a war of attrition. I always go with the fighter with better wrestling in these instances :).