Thiago Alves | “Pitbull”
Ht: 5’9 – Wt: 170 – Age: 29
Born: Fortaleza, Brazil
Fights out of: Coconut Creek, FL, USA
Team: American Top Team
Overall Record: 19-9
UFC Record: 11-6
Thiago Alves is a former title contender and one of the top strikers in the UFC welterweight division. Alves got his start in mixed martial arts in his native Brazil back in 2001. Alves lost his first 2 fights, one of which was to future UFC lightweight contender Gleison Tibau. Alves bounced back with five straight wins, including victories over Marcus Davis and Carlos Pereira. During this juncture, Alves moved stateside and began training at American Top Team. Alves eventually signed with the UFC in 2005, debuting against veteran Spencer Fisher. Alves lost his debut, but bounced back with two straight wins before suffering falling to Jon Fitch. Alves rebounded by impressively compiling a 7-fight win streak, highlighted by wins over Chris Lytle, Karo Parisyan, and Matt Hughes all of which came via TKO or knockout. Alves’s unanimous decision win over Josh Koscheck earned him a title shot against reigning UFC welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre. Alves was unable to stop GSP’s takedowns and eventually lost via 5-round unanimous decision. Alves struggled following his title loss, going 2-2 overall as he lost decisions to wresters Jon Fitch and Rick Story. Alves ended the year with a submission victory over newcomer Papy Abedi.
Alves went 1-1 in 2011.
Alves began the year squaring off against rising contender Rick Story at UFC 130. Story controlled the pace in the first 2 rounds as he kept Alves tied up in the clinch, hoping to grind out a decision victory. Alves tried to storm back in the 3rd round and seemed to have Story on the ropes, but he was unable to finish him. The judges awarded Story with a unanimous decision victory.
Alves moved on to face UFC newcomer Papy Abedi at UFC 138. Abedi surprisingly was willing to strike with Alves and eventually paid for it as Alves dropped him with a few well-timed punches. Alves followed Abedi down to the floor where he locked on a rear-naked choke for his first career submission victory (Alves had a submission win in 2004, but it was via punches).
Alves is still a dangerous striker and legitimate contender in the welterweight division despite his recent struggles. Alves has found mixed success against high-level wrestlers, evidenced by his recent decision loss to Story. If Alves does not continue to work on his takedown defense and conditioning, he will be facing an uphill battle towards ever reaching title contender status again. Alves still cuts an extreme amount of weight that has to take a toll on his overall conditioning come fight night. Alves’ future contender status will likely hinge on the way UFC matchmaker Joe Silva books him. If he chooses to pair Alves against fellow strikers or pure BJJ fighters, Alves could make a solid run, but there may be too many top-level wrestlers at the forefront of the welterweight division for Alves to overcome.
Thiago Alves Fight Record
Overall Record: 19-8
2008-2011 Record: 5-3
2011 Record: 1-1
Win | Papy Abedi | Sub | Rd 1 | UFC | 11/05/2011
Loss | Rick Story | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 05/28/2011
2010 Record: 1-1
Win | John Howard | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 12/11/2010
Loss | Jon Fitch | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 08/07/2010
2009 Record: 0-1
Loss | Georges St.Pierre | Dec | Rd 5 | UFC | 07/11/2009
2008 Record: 3-0
Win | Josh Koscheck | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 10/25/2008
Win | Matt Hughes | Tko | Rd 2 | UFC | 06/07/2008
Win | Karo Parisyan | Tko | Rd 2 | UFC | 04/02/2008