UFC 117 in Oakland, California is fast approaching and the anticipation is beginning to reach fever pitch for what should be one of the best cards of the year so far.
So far I have taken a look at two of the main card fights, Clay Guida vs Rafael dos Anjos here and Matt Hughes vs Ricardo Almeida here .
The fact that a Jon Fitch vs Thiago Alves fight is not one of the headliners speaks volumes about just how good the UFC 117 card is.
Fitch vs Alves is without question one of the biggest Welterweight fights of the year so let's get down to it folks and take a closer look at their upcoming rematch.
Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves
What's the Deal?
In a rematch from their UFC Fight Night 5 contest back in 2006 which Jon Fitch won, the consensus No. 2 and No. 3 fighters in the Welterweight Division will go at it.
In a fight originally scheduled for UFC 107, then pushed back to UFC 111 will finally take place at UFC 117.
Both fighters are desperate to get back to another fight against current Champion Georges St. Pierre and a win on Saturday will push there case.
It will be hard for the UFC management to ignore the winner of this fight as the No.1 contender in the division.
If it weren't for a Canadian phenom known as GSP, we would likely be regaling Jon Fitch as the best fighter in the world at 170 lbs.
Unfortunately despite Fitch's record of 22-3-1 his loss to St. Pierre at UFC 87 is still fresh in the memory for a lot of UFC fans.
Since that fight Fitch has gone 4-0 with wins over Gono, Thiago, Saunders and Pierce.
Should Fitch add Thiago to his resume for a second time then his claim to a second crack at the Title will be hard to ignore. However the issue for Fitch and his fans is his inability to finish fights with all four of his recent wins coming by decision.
Despite his detractors there is no denying Fitch's place at the top of the division, but he needs to bring his 'A' game to beat Alves.
Thiago Alves has not fought since his Title fight with GSP at UFC 100.
After a scare with an MRI on his brain removed him from his original fight with Fitch at UFC 107, the Brazilian is finally ready to get back in the contender mix at Welterweight.
Before losing to GSP, Alves had gone on a tear winning seven fights in a row.
There is no doubt that Alves is a better fight then the first time he faced Fitch and getting a win on Saturday will likely put him only one or two more fights away from another title shot.
At only 26, Alves is certainly the future of the division and we should all be thankful that he is returning to action. Here's a nice little reminder of what Alves brings to the fight and why you should care about the "Pitbull."
On paper this is a very tough fight to call as both Fitch and Alves have improved a lot since their last meeting. The No. 2 and No. 3 in the division have all the tools to make this a very tough and close fight.
However there is one thing that could be the determining factor for me and that is the age old issue of ring rust.
Alves has not fought since July 11, 2009 and that is a long time, which includes his medical layoff. Fitch has fought twice in the meantime.
Alves clearly holds a striking advantage but I think this could be another classic shut down performance from Fitch.
Expect Fitch to win this one, but likely via decision and this could very well turn into a fairly boring fight meaning Fitch will be no nearer another title shot.
What do you think on this fight?
Be sure to check out my preview of the other fights on the UFC 117 Main Card.