Fitch vs. Alves

The co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen pay per-view is a No. 1 contender’s match in the welterweight division as Jon Fitch faces off with Thiago Alves.

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Alves enters the fight as the slight favorite with a betting line of -130 with Fitch given a line of +100 according to online sports book SBGGLOBAL. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from Oracle Arena in Oakland, California at 10PM ET on Pay Per-View.
Thiago Alves (22-5):

Strengths: Alves is a big, strong, and explosive fighter. He cuts a lot of weight to get down to 170 pounds and when he enters the octagon, he usually weighs in around 180-185 pounds. Alves has some strong leg kicks and big power in his hands. While not the most technical striker, Alves does a good job of mixing up his punches and kicks to maximize damage.
Weaknesses: Alves was on a nice winning streak until losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100. In that fight, he was unable to stop the takedowns of GSP and lost a decision. Alves also hasn’t fought since UFC 100, which was over a year ago. That long layoff could cause some cage rust for the Pitbull. Also, the hefty weight cut could drain Alves and make him tire easier in the fight on Saturday.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 90 on Oct. 25, 2008

Second round TKO win over Matt Hughes at UFC 85 on June 7, 2008

Second round TKO win over Karo Parisyan at UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2, 2008

Second round TKO win over Chris Lytle at UFC 78 on Nov. 17, 2007
 
Jon Fitch (25-3):
Strengths: Fitch is a tremendous wrestler that has used that as his base to a very successful MMA career. Fitch has won his last four fights since losing to St. Pierre for the title two years ago and his relentless wrestling ability usually allows him to win fights on the ground. Fitch has been able to get his opponents on their back and then work his ground-and-pound to earn decision wins. Fitch says his striking has improved a lot over the past few years, but fight fans haven’t seen that in action.
Weaknesses: Fitch hasn’t finished an opponent by submission or KO since 2007. His inability to finish opponents makes him slightly unattractive to fans, but his system has not hurt him in terms of wins and losses. Fitch owns a win over Alves from the past, but since that time Alves has seemingly improved more than Fitch.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision win over Ben Saunders at UFC 111 on March 27, 2010

Unanimous decision win over Mike Pierce at UFC 107 on Dec. 12, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Paulo Thiago at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on Jan. 31, 2009

Unanimous decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87 on Aug. 9, 2008


Who will win: While Fitch’s style isn’t the most entertaining, he has only lost once in the octagon, and that was to the current champion. Fitch has a number of wins over high caliber fighters, including Alves. Alves has the strength and power, but his weight and long layoff make us worry about putting our money down on him. Alves has shown he can be taken down, and that is all Fitch needs to win. For those reasons and because Fitch has an even betting line despite just one UFC loss, we like Fitch to come out with another decision win.
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Posted: 8/6/10 11:17AM ET

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