UFC 85 Hughes vs. Alves : a critical matchup

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In August of 2007 at UFC 74, Josh Koscheck took on George St. Pierre in what would be a proving grounds for both fighters. Koscheck had been on an absolute tear in the welterweight division, winning 5 straight fights and showing some impressive standup in his victory over Diego Sanchez. George St. Pierre on the other hand had just had his career up-ended, losing the belt in his first title defense to Matt Serra in what was possibly the most stunning upset in MMA history. Koshcheck was looking for his title shot, and the former welterweight champ was in his way. As for St. Pierre, the critics had some questions. Could he bounce back? Is he mentally weak? Does he really have what it takes to be/stay champion?

Try that with a mouthgaurd!

It was a fight that would showcase the “new hotness” on the rise, against the veteran looking to get back on track. We all remember what happened…

St. Pierre showed exactly why he was once the welterweight champ by completely dominating the fight; putting on an absolute wrestling clinic against a fighter who was considered the best wrestler in mma. St. Pierre silenced his critics and reminded us all of how incredible a fighter he really is. He would show us all what he was really made of in his next fight by dominating Matt Hughes for a second time and recapturing the title against Matt Serra four months later. It seems like every year a fight like this happens; a veteran is forced to prove whether or not he can bounce back against a rising star.

Fast forward to the present. This weekend at UFC 85 in London, England, Matt Hughes will take on Thiago Alves in a fight that is being labeled in much the same way as the St. Pierre/Koscheck fight. Matt Hughes is calling this his “comeback fight,” while the 24 year old Alves, on a five fight win streak, is calling for his title shot. Once again it’s the veteran vs. the “new hotness.”

As far as fight analysis goes it’s a no brainer. Matt Hughes will be looking to impose his will with the wrestling and ground and pound that has made him the most dominant welterweight in history, while Alves will be looking to stuff the takedown and unleash some of that vicious mauy thai. What’s real intriguing about this fight is what will happen next. Will Matt Hughes make one more run at the belt or will he call it quits? Will Alves get his much desired title shot or will it be back to the drawing board? Let me save you all the suspense…

Matt Hughes is going to absolutely dominate this fight by imposing his will and showing Thiago Alves just what it takes to tussel with the big boys. Much like St. Pierre did in his win over Koscheck, Matt Hughes will remind us all of why we called him champ. His wrestling and ground and pound will completely nutrilize Alves’ arsenal, and as far as whether or not Alves has the conditioning to keep up with Hughes, I think he already answered that question today at the weigh-ins when he came in 4 fucking pounds over!

Don’t get me wrong, Thiago Alves is a hell of fighter; well deserving of the most over used nickname ever. He’ll have his title shot one day, but not by going through Hughes this Saturday.

My official prediction: the Veteran by TKO in the second minute of round 3 (right about the time Alves breaks).

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