UFC 117 Aftermath: Thiago Alves Is Too Big for Welterweight, Too Small for Middleweight

After UFC 117, Ben Fowlkes named Thiago Alves the "Biggest Loser" of the event:

It's not necessarily for his performance in the fight, which was adequate (though sadly predictable). But if you can't make weight for a top contender fight, you need to reevaluate some things. Not only did he come in a half-pound over, he didn't even try to cut that half-pound in the time allotted to him after the weigh-in. He just threw his hands up, forfeited 20% of his purse, and said (I'm paraphrasing here), 'Screw it, I'm going to the buffet.' Even if he'd won the fight after that, he probably wouldn't have gotten the title shot, according to Dana White. No matter what business you're in, when you become the biggest barrier to your own success, you have a problem.    

[UPDATE] - Thiago Alves hires "TUF 7" vet Mike Dolce to oversee diet, wants to stay at welterweight, Alves tells mmajunkie.com:
"He's going to be taking care of all my nutrition and supplementation," Alves said. "Eight weeks out, he's going to move into my house and follow me through my whole camp. [I'm] going to fix things I need to fix at the gym and in my lifestyle."

"I'll do whatever I have to do to get back on the winning track," Alves said. "I don't care."

Steve Cofielddocuments Dana White's opinion on it all:

"When you're in the UFC, your job is to make weight, period. End of story. Believe me, I don't think that Thiago didn't want to not make weight. He can't," said White. "Could he have cut that half of a pound? Maybe he couldn't have. Maybe he cut so much weight that mentally it would have broken him to cut that last half pound. That's [expletive]. It's not fair to him. It's not fair to anybody for that to keep happening."

Alves reached out to White shortly after the fight to apologize. 

"He says, 'I'm sorry about that. I'll come back stronger,'" White said. "I said, 'Yeah, at 185, you will.' He said, 'No, I want to stay at 170.'"

White sounds like he's already made the decision for Alves.

"He belongs at 185 pounds," White said. "I feel that way. I know (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva feels that way. That's where I'd like to see him."

But David St Martin of SBNation.com diagnoses the big problem with Alves as a middleweight, he's too short:

A move to 185lbs would be certain death for Alves. At 5'9, Alves would be the shortest fighter in the UFC's middleweight division by far. Rousimar Palhares being 5'8 is an extreme outlier, and since he seems content to win fights by tearing out his opponents' knees, I would assume Alves wouldn't jump at the chance to fight him. For the most part, middleweights in the UFC tend be 6'0 or taller, with only a few notable stand-outs like Wanderlei Silva coming in at 5'11. Alves would be giving up a significant amount of reach, not exactly ideal for someone who relies on striking to win fights. And his famous leg kicks? Consider them all but useless against a larger opponent looking to take him down. It's not so much that they wouldn't do damage, he just won't throw them. If he can't stay off his back against wrestlers at 170lbs, how is going to handle the middleweights?

The solution? Alves needs to do whatever he can to make 170lbs. Be it a leaner, less protein heavy diet, less weight lifting, more cardio, or even the dreaded colonic, he has to find a way to stay in the welterweight division. In addition to likely losing a good bit more of his fights, a move up in weight also removes him from the big money fights at welterweight. While he could perpetually be floating somewhere around the top five guys at 170lbs, he's going to be a much harder sell come contract time after not faring so well against bigger fighters like Marquardt, Lawlor, and Leben. Unless Dana wants to give him some kind of insane contract to fight heavier, Alves would be nuts to even consider it. If he doesn't get his act together soon, Alves is going to be a world of hurt.

What do you think?


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