On July 11, 2009, Canadian kingpin Georges St. Pierre will again enter the octagon in an attempt to defend his UFC Welterweight crown against his most dangerous opponent to date, and with St. Pierre’s resume that’s saying something.
Across the cage from St. Pierre will stand Brazilian Muay Thai specialist Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves.
Currently, St. Pierre sits a top the welterweight division and following his dominating performance against B.J Penn is seen as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
The keys to victories for St. Pierre will be to use his well-rounded abilities to force Alves into a fight he does not want to partake in, as well as his relentless pace, which no fighter to date has been able to conquer.
Despite a strong stand-up game, St. Pierre will likely use his superior wrestling to force the fight to the mat with the first opening he sees.
St. Pierre’s kickboxing has come a long way in the last few years, but because Alves possesses such lethal leg kicks, he is not the opponent to try these out on.
Thiago Alves will need to use his ability to block a takedown numerous times throughout this fight. He is a Muay Thai specialist and therefore needs to keep the fight standing to have a chance of defeating St. Pierre.
Alves proved in his October fight against Josh Koscheck and his June encounter against Matt Hughes that he can block shots against some of the best wrestlers in the game.
Whether he can do the same against Georges St. Pierre will be the determining factor in who walks out of this fight victorious.
If Alves is able to punish the legs and body of St. Pierre continuously, much the same way he did against Koscheck and Hughes, he will be able to weaken his opponent, making the shot easier to block.
Cardio: In all the fights St. Pierre has had in the cage, he has never even slightly shown the smallest hint of fatigue. He always comes into each fight in phenomenal shape and this fight will be no different.
He has on numerous occasions proclaimed Thiago Alves to be the biggest challenge of his career and because of this, its safe to assume St. Pierre will come in the greatest shape of his life.
Thiago Alves however is a mystery in this department. He went three rounds with Koscheck in October and did not looked fatigued in doing so, however, St. Pierre is a whole different kind of beast.
With the pace St. Pierre will continuously push, it will be interesting to see if Alves can keep up or if he gets exhausted and pummeled, as so many of St. Pierre’s other victims have of late.
Ground Game: We know that Alves is an animal when it comes to Muay-Thai, however his ground game is still very suspect and unless it has substantially improved since his previous encounters, it could be his Achilles' heel of the fight.
His two losses inside the octagon have come from a triangle choke courtesy of Spencer Fisher and an up kick from Jon Fitch. It’s safe to say that Alves will do everything in his power to not let those same mistakes happen again.
St. Pierre has never faced a striker as fierce and aggressive as Thiago Alves and if he takes him lightly the way he did against Matt Serra, we will have a new Welterweight Champion.
Fortunately, St. Pierre has matured by leaps and bounds since that time and it is unlikely he will do anything of the sort. Can Alves do what many proclaim is impossible? On July 11 at UFC 100, we will find out.