Thiago Alves is back and the welterweight division is on Red Alert
[dropcap color=”#888″ type=”square”]W[/dropcap]hat’s in a name? Not alot! But when you can back up that name! Especially when it represents one of the most feared animals in the human psyche, well that’s a different story. Step in Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves! Known for his punching power and sheer ferocity and at one time one regarded as one of the most feared fighters in the welterweight division. Then back in 2009 he fought George Saint Pierre for the Championship, suffering an injury to his knee. What followed were a number of mediocre performances, some wins, but mostly losses. As Alves performances gradually took a turn for the worst…
Since that time further injuries have only compounded his problems and led to an extended period of recuperation away from the cage. Which has now extended to almost 2 years after his last fight, which was a loss against Martin Kampmann. Originally slated for a return in July 2013, further rehab time has been required to ensure everything is working at 100%. And now that is exactly where Thiago says he is at! 100% and ready to get back into the Octagon and make another run at the Welterweight crown.
An awful lot has changed in those two years and one of the most intriguing outcomes of Saint Pierre’s self imposed hiatus, is that the Welterweight division has been blown wide open. With the undisputed king having stepped down from his throne. There are a multitude of possible challengers in waiting, eager to to get their hands on the Championship belt. And now Thiago Alves wants to add his name to that list! With a record of (20-9), 11 of which have come by KO/TKO. There is no doubt that when at full health, Thiago Alves can certainly inflict alot of damage on his competition. But the real question is, what can we expect from the Thiago Alves of 2014. Does he still possess the skills and firepower which got him within a hairs breath of the title way back in 2009?
Like so many fighters that have come and gone before him. What will this long lay off have done for his title hopes. While he has been rehabilitating the sport has moved on. Two years may not seem like a long time, but alot can happen in two years in the UFC landscape. Alot has changed, not only on the surface but below, in the gyms, the training and techniques. Has Thiago been able to keep up to speed with those changes, no one really truly knows. Those questions can only be answered when that cage door closes and the Pitbull is once again let loose.
Even more intriguing is where is he now ranked and who is going to step up and test him in his first fight back? It is safe to assume that he won’t get anyone inside the top ten or perhaps even the top fifteen ranked fighters. If he were to get someone inside the top 15, perhaps Josh Koscheck could be a good matchup. With three losses in a row, all to fighters inside the top ten. A Koscheck vs Alves rematch of their 2008 fight might be exactly what the doctor ordered. With Koscheck looking to prove he still has what it takes to be inside the top ten rankings. A matchup against Alves may if anything only solidify his current position. While a win for Alves could very well see him back in the hunt in quick time. I for one am looking forward to seeing what Thiago 2.0 looks like inside the cage.
With so many questions yet to be answered. Does he still have the hunger and is his mind in the right space? Only he can truly answer those questions.
Image courtesy of mmabay.co.uk