UFC 138 Results: 5 Fighters That Thiago Alves Could Take Next
Thiago Alves looked refreshed against UFC newcomer Papy Abedi, taking a first-round rear-naked choke win for only his second victory in his last five fights.
The former welterweight title challenger showed amazing ground-and-pound technique, which set up the submission, the first in his MMA career (unless you count his submission victory via punches over Jason Chambers in November 2004) and is looking to move up the welterweight ladder once again.
A lot of talk has gone on for this division, especially regarding matchups for the top contenders, and Alves showed that he deserves to be in that talk with his performance at UFC 138.
Here are five fighters that Alves could take on next.
Martin Kampmann (17-5)
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A win by Martin Kampmann will set up a fight between two fighters that have come back to form after falling on some hard times in the losing column.
Kampmann has lost his last two fights and if he can beat Rick Story at UFC 139 and get past Alves, he could be another guy to look out for in terms of title shots in the next year.
A win for Story may derail this fight as Story already beat Alves at UFC 130 in May.
Jake Shields (26-6-1)
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After a 15-fight winning streak, Jake Shields is one fighter that has fallen on hard times. He was schooled by Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129 and was humbled by Jake Ellenberger in September.
This fight could be beneficial for both fighters.
For Shields, a win alone will get some credibility back to the former Strikeforce champion, and when you measure that win to be against a former title contender, it could allow Shields to get back into the top five in the division.
A win for Alves would be huge. If Alves could beat Shields, Alves will most definitely push himself into top-10 status once again.
Charlie Brenneman (14-3)
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Although this might be a step back for Alves, a fight against Charlie Brenneman could be a small step for him to get back to his winning ways.
It also opens up a good opportunity for Brenneman to get into the top 10.
Brenneman is coming off a loss to Anthony Johnson in October via a vicious head kick, (I don't even think vicious can serve this head kick justice) and will be looking to get back to winning after this loss broke a two-fight win streak.
With Johnson penciled in to move up to middleweight and take on Vitor Belfort at UFC 142, it eliminates "Rumble" off this list, but for Brenneman, a fight against Alves could be an opening especially since they share a common opponent in Rick Story.
Alves lost via unanimous decision at UFC 130, while Brenneman came out victorious by the same method a little under a month later.
Josh Koscheck (16-5)
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Yes, Alves has already beaten Koscheck before, but that was over three years ago.
Both men are different now. Both have gotten title shots against Georges St-Pierre and were both lost a five-round unanimous decision.
Since his loss to Alves, Koscheck has won five of his last seven bouts, including a decisive win over UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes at UFC 135.
Alves has gone the other way, losing three of his last five.
If Alves is looking to get back into the title hunt, the road will eventually go through Koscheck and trust the fact that Koscheck wouldn't mind looking for some redemption.
With Koscheck's improved striking ability, mixed in with his natural wrestling skill and some new found confidence, it could spell bad news for Alves.
For Alves, his win over Koscheck pushed him into title contention the first time. Could another win over the brash T.U.F. Season 1 alumnus get him closer to another shot at UFC gold?
A fight against Koscheck looks unlikely at the moment as he has a verbal agreement to fight Carlos Condit, but stranger things have happened in the UFC.
Dan Hardy (23-10-1 NC)
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After a tough loss to Chris Lytle in August, Dan Hardy is now riding a four-fight losing streak.
It's not a stretch to say that Hardy hasn't looked the same since this skid began with a loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 111, but he is slowly starting to pick up his game once again.
He changed his training regimen for his fight against Lytle and after going to war with Lytle, a fight between two more guys on the "GSP hit list" could be what is needed for both fighters.
Hardy needs to get back to his winning ways and Alves needs to prove that his win over Abedi wasn't a one-and-done type of deal.
What do you think? What other fighters could you see Alves fight next?
Will Alves make weight on his first try next time or will he receive scrutiny like he did following his fight against Jon Fitch at UFC 117?