Who's next for the UFC at 170lbs? Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez or Thiago Alves?

Jared BriggsCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2008

Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves are three of the top contenders in the UFC's 170 pound Division.  Which of these men have a chance to dethrone either current Champ Georges St. Pierre or possible future champ Jon Fitch?  Well let’s see.


Josh Koscheck: 13-2-0

Currently on a two-fight win streak Josh Koscheck declares himself pound for pound the best wrestler to step foot in the Octagon.  Needless to say his wrestling ability is what got him to be one of the top contenders in this division.  His striking has greatly improved training at the AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) gym.  He trains with Jon Fitch and has already made mention that if Fitch does become the champion, that they would just train at different sides of the gym if they were to fight.  He lasted a three round unanimous decision loss to the current champion.  He did say that he was not expecting St. Pierre to shoot and that he wanted to test his stand-up before going to his roots and taking St. Pierre down to the ground.  He has been impressive in matches against up and comer Dustin Hazelett (13-5-0) via win by TKO and a unanimous decision win over Chris Lytle (25-16–5).  I feel if Koscheck is to be a champion he must trust his skills of wrestling and be more of a striker who goes for take-downs, like a Sean Sherk or a Tito Ortiz.


Diego Sanchez: 11-2-0

The Nightmare also on a two fight winning streak defeating David Bielkheden (12-6-0) and Luigi Fioravanti (13-4–0), winning both by TKO by strikes.  Diego has notable wins over Kenny Florian (9-3-0), Karo Parysian (18-5-0) and Nick Diaz (17-7-0).  Sanchez came to the UFC mainly known for his Jiu-Jitsu but now he better be known for his striking, because he showed great improvement against Luigi.  His tools can make him a bad match up for anyone in this division.  I would say a weakness of his is his wrestling.  St. Pierre will take advantage of that and we all saw the Fitch fight.  He was on track to getting a title shot two years ago but Koscheck took advantage of the weakened Sanchez.  Koscheck was extremely apprehensive on taking Sanchez down and didn’t really want to bang with Sanchez.  One thing Sanchez does have the Koscheck doesn’t is experience.  Besides the Lytle fight Koscheck hasn’t won a difficult test, Sanchez.  Sanchez needs to get through Alves in UFC 90 and he will get his long awaited title shot.


Thiago Alves: 16-3-0

Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves is a Muay Thai wrecking machine.  His last three wins are against former two-time champion Matt Hughes (42-7-0), Karo Parysian (18-5-0) and Chris Lytle (25-16–5).  His last loss was to Jon Fitch two years ago via TKO.  He is not well known for his submission skill but he has used them.  He submitted Spencer Fisher with a Triangle choke.  I really think this man can give anyone a run for him money.  His problem is that he has a problem to make weight.  UFC president Dana White doesn’t like it when fighters don’t make weight, so can Alves be trusted to do so?  I say yes.  He says he had an ankle injury.  I have a feeling that he will defeat Sanchez and then go against Koscheck and defeat him.  This fighter has no weaknesses that I have seen in his fights.  He showed great take-down defense against Hughes and great stand-up against Lytle.  I didn’t agree with the stoppage of the Karo fight but he did win that fight.  Look for the Brazilian Thiago Alves to be the next champion.