Photo by Scott Petersen via MMA Weekly.
Up and coming UFC welterweight Rick Story showed that he belongs at the top of the division by dominating former title challenger Thiago Alves to take a unanimous decision at UFC 130.
Story only ate one leg kick before shooting in for a take down. Avles fought to stand up but Story took standing back control and landed lots of knees to Alves' legs and threatened Alves' head when Alves tried to stand. Alves fought loose and even took Story down briefly. Alves' couldn't hold top position but he managed to fight back to his feet. Story didn't let Alves spend much time at range before clinching up and forcing Alves into the clinch. He wasn't able to stay active enough to stave off a restart though. Alves immediately fired off a body punch. Story answered with some body hooks of his own. When Alves freed himself and fired off some strikes, Story landed a mean series of lefts and rights. When they separated, Story landed more shots, taking the better of the exchanges with Alves.
Alves looked hurt and angry as he came out for the third round. He landed quickly with an inside leg kick but Story answered back and won the exchange. Story then forced Alves into the cage and got Alves down with about 3:30 left in the round. But Alves stood up and then took story down. Story fought back to his feet after a few moments under Alves. Standing Story forced another clinch and forced Alves into the cage. They separated and Alves slipped to the ground after throwing a high kick. He got back up quickly, but Story immediately forced him into the cage. When Alves got free at the end of the round and was able to exchange at range, he was visibly rubber-armed.
In the third, Alves came out trading and once again Story got the better of him initially but Alves did finally manage to back Story up and land a few strikes during the retreat. Story quickly recovered though an answered with body hooks and a knee to the body. Story forced a clinch and Alves countered with the same outside trip he used earlier. Story fended that off and went in for a double leg. Alves fought him off but Story quickly took cage control. Alves fought through some uneven exchanges then began to build a little momentum, peaking with a knee that stunned Story. Story forced a clinch that blunted Alves' charge for a critical amount of time. Alves roared back in the final seconds but it was too little too late.
Alves came into the bout off a dominating win over John Howard at UFC 124. Prior to that he had back to back losses to perennial #2 Jon Fitch and UFC champ Georges St Pierre.
Story entered the fight following a five fight win streak -- including wins over previously undefeated Johny Hendricks and fan-favorite Dustin Hazelett - that catapulted him into this bout against Alves, the #3 welterweight in the world.