Thiago "Pitbull" Alves is coming off the most impressive win of his career with a TKO stoppage of the usually durable Chris Lytle.
Riding a four-fight win streak, the Pitbull is looking to make a big statement April 2nd on UFC Fight Night.
With his last loss coming at the hands of future Welterweight Title contender Jon Fitch, Thiago needs this win against a well known opponent like Karo "The Heat" Parisyan if he wants to be more than a drop in an already incredibly stacked UFC Welterweight pond.
If this is a must win for Thiago, then it's an absolutely life or MMA death must win for Karo.
The Heat has been unable to finish any of his last three opponents, all wins coming by way of decision.
The crack on Karo is that fighting has always come easy to him and he was able to defeat bigger, stronger, older opponents at a young age. These early raw talents and abilities have presented a challenge in the training, work ethic, and conditioning of Karo.
Easy success has equaled lackluster training. An impressive, decisive victory puts Karo in the Welterweight mix with hopes of regaining his past injury-lost title shot. With a strong fan base, there are plenty that want to see Karo back on top.
The question is whether Karo has re-committed himself to being the best.
Thiago trains in the ever evolving, highly competitive American Top Team. These guys challenge each other daily and push the limits. At this stage of his career, Karo needs to get out of his comfort zone and seek out different training camps and people that will push him.
Looking at the lone common opponent, Chris Lytle, of both Alves and Parisyan tells little of the result of this upcoming matchup. Lytle is a solid, non-finisher who lost due to a doctor stoppage that, if not stopped, would have most likely resulted in a three-round decision win for Alves.
Thiago poses the greater stand-up threat with Karo having the advantage on the ground. Parisyan gets knocked out rarely (once by Sherk) and most likely Alves' standup will NOT suprise Parisyan.
Look for Karo to stand and bang, close in for an opening to clinch to set up a judo throw, and repeat. Alves will land a few good punches but will not hurt Karo.
For MMA fans, the trend is not not necessarily our friend in this case. Alves/Parisyan will conclude with The Heat squeaking out yet another three-round decision win.
With a win here, matchmaker Joe Silva may feel like he owes Karo a shot at the number one contender, Jon Fitch. The winner of that battle would face the champ of Serra/GSP II.
Being a Karo fan, let's hope he surprises this MMA groupie and newly recognized Bleacher Report writer.