Hello once more fans and friends, itâ€™s now time for another entry in my special three-day mini-series event â€œA Closer Look at UFC 130â€. Iâ€™ve covered the Facebook preliminary broadcast, the Spike TV preliminary broadcast, and Iâ€™ve just started on the official Pay-Per-View broadcast. UFC 130 is shaping up to be a great card with plenty of big matches, and this is becoming more and more apparent as we get higher and higher on the Pay-Per-View card. Now itâ€™s time to focus on a welterweight clash that pits former UFC Welterweight Championship challenger Thiago Alves against the surging Rick Story.
In October, Thiago Alves will celebrate his sixth year of active competition as a UFC fighter. Debuting in 2005, it took Alves three long years before he emerged as a true Welterweight contender. To date, Alvesâ€™ biggest year was 2008, when he defeated three top-ranked Welterweight fighters and earned â€œFighter of the Yearâ€ on several prominent websites. To this day, few can forget Thiagoâ€™s dramatic Flying Knee KO win over UFC legend and Hall of Fame member Matt Hughes.
Things then took a turn for the worse. Alves was awarded a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship at the historic UFC 100 eventâ€¦ and was controlled for five rounds by Georges St. Pierre. That 2009 loss broke Alvesâ€™ seven-fight win-streak, and Alves would return to MMA competition over a year later and overweight. Alves would lose that fight as well. Recently, however, Alves looked to be back to proper form when he defeated John Howard by Unanimous Decision. Despite his rough patch, all hope is far from lost for Thiago Alves.
Rick â€œThe Horrorâ€ Story has the dubious distinction of being one of many, many fighters that entered the UFC on a good win-streak only to lose their Octagon debut. However, Story rebounded emphatically from that loss and is currently on a five-fight win-streak. Two of those wins were very tough Split Decisions, but two others were dominant finishes. Currently, Story has been making a name for himself by taking on the lower-to-mid tier of the UFCâ€™s welterweight division. This is easily the biggest test of Storyâ€™s UFC career, but he seems very ready for it and equally as ready to prove himself amongst a Welterweight division that is in desperate need of new, interesting challenges for Georges St. Pierre.
So, who do I think will win this fight? It depends on which Thiago Alves shows up. And yes, it really is that simple. If the old Alves of 2008 shows up, Rick Story is going to be bounced back to the mid-tier in a big way, most likely by TKO. Alves was once unstoppable, and he can become unstoppable again. But if the Alves that shows up at UFC 130 is the fighter thatâ€™s continuously struggled to come in at the weight limit? If itâ€™s the Alves that can be and has been thoroughly dominated by wrestling-based fighters? If that fighter shows up, then this fight is Storyâ€™s for the taking.
There are now only three fights left of the main UFC 130 Pay-Per-View card, fans and friends. Stay tuned as I continue to count down and fully cover UFC 130 with â€œA Closer Look At UFC 130â€.