UFC: Spotlight on Welterweight Darkhorse Thiago Alves

Cameron DemetrickCorrespondent IApril 25, 2008

When you look at the UFC's welterweight division, you see the top welterweights in the world. Sitting at the top of the division are the big names such as Georges St.Pierre, Matt Hughes, and Jon Fitch. Soon to be joining that list is UFC's welterweight dark horse, Thiago Alves. With his upcoming fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 85, the future looks bright for the brazilian fighter.

Thiago Alves is a brazilian fighter fighting out of the American Top Team. Coming into the UFC, Alves had a 7 and 1 record. One of those wins was a split decision win over another top UFC welterweight, Marcus Davis.

 Alves' first fight in the UFC was against Spencer Fisher at Ultimate fight night 2. Fisher managed to catch Alves in a triangle choke in the second round, putting a halt on the Thiago Alves hype machine. Thiago however bounced back, and won his next two fights by TKO in the first rounds, showing the UFC fans his great striking ability. Thiago's next fight was against his toughest opponent, Jon Fitch. Alves fought well, but was stopped by Fitch in the second round. Alves' momentum had once again been stopped. It seemed as though Alves could not find a win against the big names.

Alves however was still motivated, and won his next four fights in impressive fashion. He defeated John Alessio in a convincing decision, knocked out Tony Desouza, finished Kinuyoshi Hironaka with strikes, and stopped Chris Lytle due to a cut from strikes. Alves was back on track and had momentum. His next fight was once again another big name, Karo "the heat" Parisyan.

Karo Parisyan also had momentum, and was looking to use a win over Thiago Alves as a means for his long awaited title shot. Many saw this fight as Karo's night to shine, and for Alves to buckle under pressure once again. Alves however had an ace up his sleeve. Many fighters under estimate Thiago's striking ability. Most see him as a solid grappler, with average striking ability. Thiago however had won 63% of his fights due to strikes. Thiago was determined to make his third fight with a big name a charm.

During the fight Parisyan would clinch with Alves looking to take him down. Alves however showed his great grappling ability, and did his best to keep the fight standing. During the second round, Alves was opening up with strikes. Parisyan looked to take Alves down once again. Alves stuffed the takedown, and delievered a knee to the chin of Parisyan. Parisyan dropped and Alves finished Parisyan off with strikes. The stoppage may have been early to some, but nonetheless, Thiago had earned himself a big win.

Alves now finds himself about to face the biggest name hes ever fought, former UFC weltwerweight champion, Matt Hughes. With Liddell being injured the UFC was looking for a main event for UFC 85. Alves and Matt Hughes is now that main event. Hughes has said win or lose, hes getting Matt Serra. I believe Hughes is at the tail end of his career, and perhaps is thinking about retiring sonn. Alves however is continuing to improve, and is looking for that title shot. A win over Matt Hughes will most likely earn him that shot. With momentum behind him, and a TKO rate of 65%, Alves will be looking to stop Hughes' take downs, and to finish him with strikes. With youth, momentum, and skill set behind him, it is hard not to see a bright future for UFC's top welterweight striker, the "The Pitpull" Thiago Alves.