In the main event of UFC on FX 2 this weekend, former top contender Thiago Alves (19-8; 11-5 UFC) faces Martin Kampmann (18-5; 9-4 UFC). This Welterweight fight will be the main event of the evening. It's a close contest, with Kampmann currently ranked at #10 in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, and Alves just 2 spots lower at #12. The main card airs on FX this Friday, March 2 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, with prelims airing on Fuel TV starting at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.
The more I look at this fight, the more excited I get. Both Kampmann and Alves are tremendously exciting fighters who deliver in the cage. They're also both long-time fixtures of the UFC Welterweight division's upper echelon, though neither man has yet been able to take home UFC gold. With the current turmoil in the division, now is the time to make a big move. Add in Jake Ellenberger not looking fantastic in his win over Diego Sanchez, and the winner here could be in position for a title eliminator next.
How do these two stack up?
Alves: 28 years old | 5'9" | 70" reach
Kampmann: 29 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Thiago "The Pitbull" Alves rose to Welterweight prominence in 2007/2008 when he went on an impressive 7 fight win streak. That streak, which included wins over Matt Hughes, Karo Parisyan, and Josh Koscheck, was ended by champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100. Since that loss, Alves has had trouble finding consistently, going 2-2 since GSP. The cynic can point out the fact that Alves's 2 wins were both against significantly lower competition in Abedi and Howard. The optimist can argue that Alves looked great against Abedi, and that both the loses (Story and Jon Fitch) were bad stylistic match-ups for the Brazilian. This fight will tell us a lot about Alves's future.
Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann has been on the unfortunate end of 2 recent controversial decisions. A lot of fans argue that he defeated both Shields and Sanchez, and should be ranked far higher than he is at the moment. Regardless, Kampmann righted the ship with a big win over Rick Story at UFC 139. The Danish fighter is a former Middleweight who has transitioned into the role of Welterweight gatekeeper, and would like to break out of that spot. Notably, he holds a win over Interim UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit - the only loss on Condit's record in the past 6 years. As Condit's stock rises, Kampmann's claim of beating him means more and more, but is that enough to be considered for a title shot?
Why should you care?
This is just going to be awesome. It's two absolutely tenacious fighters who are a perfect stylistic match-up. You must watch.
More UFC on FX 2 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.