UFC 100 is less than two weeks away.
The co-main event between Georges St-Pierre and Thiago Alves is generating more buzz than Mark Sanford on a booze cruise through Argentina. The conventional online wisdom is bifurcated straight down the middle: St-Pierre will win by controlling the ground game, or Alves will win through the power of his hands.
I see a third option: St-Pierre by KO.
Who remembers the Pride fight between Mirko Cro-cop and Kevin Randleman?
Cro-cop was so preocupied with avoiding the Olympian’s takedowns that he dropped his hands just long enough to get caught with a viscious left hook.
A similar phenomenon happened in St-Pierre’s second fight with Matt Hughes, when Hughes, accutely aware of St-Pierre’s ability to take him to the ground, forgot that the Canadian also has tremendous power in his legs and feet, which he used to great effect.
Thiago Alves has excellent takedown defense (evidenced in his fight with NCAA champ, Josh Koscheck). These defensive skills were acquired, it seems, over the last few years of training, specifically in order to deal with the powerhouse wrestling talent in the welterweight division.
Now, on Saturday night, July 11, Alves will face the best functional wrestler, as well the best all around fighter, in mixed martial arts. He might be ready to defend St-Pierre’s takedowns, but he won’t be ready for St-Pierre.
St-Pierre by KO in Round 2.