Top tier UFC welterweight Thiago Alves has the odds stacked against him when he takes on former opponent Jon Fitch this Saturday night. Alves recently underwent brain surgery to repair an irregularity in one of his arteries and was subsequently forced to refrain from competition for several months (he has not appeared in the Octagon since UFC 100 in July of 2009). Add to that the fact that Alves is reportedly having a hard time cutting weight and also Fitch defeated Alves by TKO when they last met (albeit, that was in 2006), and things do not look great for “The Pitbull.” Alves recently told MMAFighting’s Ben Fowlkes, however, that this weight cut has not been an issue and that he feels fine despite the rumors that would indicate otherwise.
“I was expecting that,” Alves said. “Once you miss weight, it’s the first thing everyone talks about. [The weight cut]’s been easy. It’s one of the easiest times it’s ever been. I just didn’t want to go to the workout and miss a day of working on it, because I wanted to make sure everything was under control and where it should be so I can make it easy on myself. I asked the UFC if I could skip the workout and do some real training, and they let me go. They had so many fighters already, so it was fine.”
Alves was referring to his UFC 85 bout against Matt Hughes, where he weighed in at 174 pounds allegedly due to an ankle injury which prevented him from doing cardio. Alves told Fowlkes that the rumors are annoying, but that he understands they come with the territory.
“It is [annoying], but it’s part of the job,” he said. “You get used to dealing with it. You just have to look at the big picture. It’s a stepping-stone to get where you want to get. I have no complaints. Obviously, I wish I could be home eating a big meal, but that’s not the case. You got to do what you got to do.”
As far as speculation that ring rust from his long layoff will be a detriment to his performance Saturday night, Alves says that his experience and time spent as a fighter will negate any negative effects of his injury-induced layoff.
“I’m not at all worried about it,” Alves said. “I’ve been fighting since I was 15. It’s all I know. It’s the only place I’m really comfortable, is inside the Octagon. That’s all I do is fight, so I’m not worried at all.”
Alves will meet Fitch this Saturday night on the main card of UFC 117, which will be headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva defending his title against Chael Sonnen. Alves weighed in at 171.5 pounds today, .5 pounds over the allowable limit, and Saturday night we will see if Alves’ layoff and tough weight cut will affect his performance at all.