Thiago Alves: Welterweight or Bust

Sunday, August 8th, 2010 by Tony Reid

Thiago Alves has had well documented issues with making weight before this past weekend at UFC 117, coming in over weight twice in the UFC including being over a ridiculous 8lbs at UFC 85 against Matt Hughes.  He walks around at or right around 200lbs.  That is a huge cut even in a sport like MMA, where a 10, 15, 20 lb cut is the norm.  Georges St. Pierre is said to be comfortable cutting between 10 and 15 lbs leading up to a fight.  Leading up to the weigh ins for UFC 117 and his fight against Jon Fitch, Alves  stated that this was his easiest cut so far, that there were no problems making weight but when it came down to it on the scale he was  1 ½ lbs over and didn’t even take the opportunity to cut the last half pound. He forfeited 20% of his purse without even giving it a second thought.   What is more alarming to me than the physical aspect of this is the mental aspect of the entire situation.  Joe Rogan must have mentioned the 20% forfeiture of his purse 1,000 times during the fight with Fitch and I think it speaks volumes about where Thiago is mentally.  And I am not just talking about this particular situation.  He has made a number of excuses in response to why he has had issues making weight in the past, from injuries to layoffs to lifestyle choices.  Hopefully this is the (second or third) wakeup call he needs. He is bringing in guru Mike Dolce to oversee his diet and will even have him move in with him leading up to his next fight.  I think this will help Alves reign in his weight problem.  At welterweight, he can be very dynamic at his best and slow and lethargic at his worst (when having issues cutting weight).  Rogan also stated something to the effect of “Dude, you don’t need pecs that big”.  All joking aside, I think there is definitely something to that statement.  Alves could cut out the Mr. Olympia type of bulky muscle in place of more functional strength that would better suit him in a mixed martial arts fight.  There are still interesting fights for him at welterweight, as long as he realizes his place, which is not at the top of the division.  He is a second tier guy that could have very exciting fights against guys like Dan Hardy, Mike Swick Paulo Thiago, and even Marcus Davis.  Imagine if Paul Daley was still around, too!

If not, the other option would be jump to middleweight.  One thought (which I hate) that always seems to surface when a fighter loses is the bright idea to drop a weight class. In this case the opposite would be true.  Everyone is talking about him jumping up to middleweight.  I personally think this would be a really bad move.  He is listed at 5’9” but is more like 5’7”, which at middleweight would be extremely short.  His reach would be on the extremely short side of that weight class as well.  The only middleweight that is close to his size is Rousimar Palhares, who has had mixed results and who also implements a much different game plan and style than Alves.  Palhares is known for his ground game, particularly his leg locks which can be effective on the ground against larger opponents but if your game is to stand and trade and implement a Muay Thai and striking style than it could be a long road to success at that size in that weight class.  He would be facing monsters like Silva, Sonnen, Marquardt, and company who are all be much bigger fighters than Alves.  I think Thiago is an exciting fighter and I hope he gets his weight and mental state under control and remains in the welterweight division.  For Thiago it’s welterweight or bust.