Expect Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves to take one step closer to fighting for the welterweight championship belt with a victory over Josh “Kos” Koscheck at UFC 90 on Saturday, October 25thin Rosemont, IL.
Alves, the American Top Team product who turned 25 just three weeks ago, is a superstar in the making and Koscheck happens to be the next man standing in the way on his journey to the top of the 170 pound mountain.
A victory would likely put him in line to face the winner of the BJ Penn/Georges St. Pierre UFC 94 championship fight sometime in early 2009.
There are a number of reasons why I like Alves to take care of business in this fight.
First of all, Alves is the better striker. Koscheck is much improved since his Ultimate Fighter days, however, Alves’ aggressive Muay Thai can be overwhelming. He has been honing his Muay Thai since the age of 15.
His combination of punches, knees, and kicks, coupled with his huge frame and raw strength is hard to deal with. Just ask Marcus Davis, Chris Lytle, Karo Parisyan, and most recently Matt Hughes.
The devastating knockout of future UFC Hall-of-Famer Matt Hughes at UFC 85 ran Alves’ career record to 15 – 3 overall with ten of his wins coming by way of knockout.
I foresee Koscheck trying to execute a similar game plan that he tried to incorporate against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74.
St. Pierre has excellent standup skills like Alves. To combat this Koscheck decided his best chance to beat St. Pierre was to take him down and try to ground and pound him. This is how he has won the majority of his fights in his career. Six of his eleven victories have gone all three rounds where he was able to take guys down and grind his way to victory.
Koscheck was able to takedown St. Pierre in the first round of their fight but that was the only time. St. Pierre’s takedown defense and strength allowed him to essentially negate Koscheck’s ground game. After that he was a sitting duck. St. Pierre was not able to knock him out, however, he did record the unanimous decision victory by picking him apart on their feet.
When Alves steps into the cage against Koscheck I see it going similar to the way the St. Pierre fight played out with respect to their contrasting styles.
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