As we get set for Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann on March 3 in Sidney, Australia, one thing we can be certain of is some big hits in a main event featuring the top-two strikers in the UFC's welterweight division.
Both Alves and Kampmann exhibit tremendous striking ability, with Alves having a slight edge, but Kampmann holds the advantage in takedown defense and on the ground.
Here are three guarantees for Alves vs. Kampmann.
3. Alves Will Surprise Kampmann with Some Big Shots
Let's be clear, Kampmann knows he's going up against a punishing striker in Alves.
But that's not the same as experiencing Alves' striking ability. Eleven of Alves' victories have come via KO or TKO. Before Alves' loss to Georges-St. Pierre in July 2009, the Brazilian had won eight of his previous 10 UFC fights via KO or TKO.
On top of that, Alves got back in the win column in November when he submitted Papy Abedi in the first round. He's gotten back on track to an extent and will be more confident in March.
2. Kampmann's Ground Game Will Surprise Alves
Surprise, surprise: Alves won't be the only one doing the surprising.
Kampmann's ground game is overshadowed by his takedown defense, but it's actually quite good. Six of Kampmann's 18 MMA victories have come via submission, and when he's in position for the submission he rarely misses his opportunity. In fact, his submissions can be alarmingly quick.
Alves will get some big shots in, but Kampmann has the edge on the ground.
1. Alves Will Get Back to His Losing Ways
Who will win?
Before his victory against Abedi, Alves had lost three of his previous four fights. The truth is, he's not equipped to beat the top welterweights in the UFC right now and I even expect to him to have trouble with Kampmann.
Alves has shown he struggles against fighters who can take him down and his ground game still isn't good enough to beat someone like Kampmann. I expect Kampmann to find a way to get Alves on the mat and finish him there.