Top welterweight fighter Thiago Alves recently rebounded from a two-fight losing streak by taking out fellow slugger John Howard via unquestionable unanimous decision this past December at UFC 124.
Alves will be looking to keep the momentum going in his favor and to reestablish himself as a contender at the forefront of the 170lbs. division when he takes on the fast-rising Rick Story later this month at UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill.
“Pitbull” recently spoke to MMAMania.com’s Adam Wagner about that impending match up, giving his soon-to-be opponent credit, but expressing his confidence in his own ability to pull out the win.
“I feel great. I think it’s a perfect match up for me and for him,” Alves said. ‘He’s five in a row, so it’s time for him to step up the action and see if he really belongs in the top of the weight class. He’s a really tough kid, very aggressive. I see myself in his shoes back in the day when I fought Karo Parisyan, when I started fighting the top guys. I know what’s going through his head. I know all his fears and everything. I know how much he wants it. I feel the same way, but now I’m way more experienced than him. I’ve been fighting way tougher competition than he has. So I’m very confident. I’m not taking anything away from him — I think it’s going to be a war. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to either knock him out or submit him.”
Known primarily for his wrestling chops, 12-3 Rick Story will be looking to make his own statement in the fight by defeating a well-established contender like Alves. However, thanks to some training and weight-cut modifications, Alves believes that he will simply be too much for the younger competitor and that he’ll be back on his way to challenging for the belt in no time.
“I think it’s the only area where he has a chance of winning the fight, just because he’s a wrestler. But you can’t take my performance against GSP and against Jon Fitch. First, they are way better wrestlers than he is,” he said. “They’ve been fighting the top of the weight class for such a long time. Like I said, I got no excuse — GSP and Jon Fitch were better than me those nights. But I know inside of my heart, everybody who knows me — my coach, my camp — knows that wasn’t the Thiago Alves everybody sees inside of the gym, that Thiago Alves that showed up to fight before. I was very debilitated in those fights, mostly in the Jon Fitch fight. So if he thinks he’s going to take my punches and hold me down, he’s in for a long night.”
UFC 130 goes down on MAy 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.