Matt Brown may or may not be 'literally immortal', but he is defying the odds with his late career renaissance. In the past two years he's gone from undervalued journeyman to beloved cult icon for his aggressive Muay Thai style. He's been talking about his desire for a title shot, and it would appear that the UFC likes the idea of placing him among the divisions elite. I'm not going to say I called this, but I totally called this. From my post UFC on Fox 7 recaps:
I know it seems like outright favoritism to hope that the UFC keeps Matt Brown on the striker diet straight to the top of the division, but I do. I want to see him get exciting standup fights and win his way to an unlikely title shot. In that vein I humbly offer a matchup with Thiago Alves when he returns from injury.
It would appear that the matchmaking Gods (Joe Silva) have seen my humble offering, and found it to their liking. Thiago Alves is the perfect fight to make for Matt Brown right now. He's a former title contender who's been in a bit of a slump, going on three years plagued by injuries and underwhelming performances. However, Alves still holds a lot of name value to the casual audience. He's a great fight and, if healthy, a dangerous opponent for Brown. If Brown can get past Alves this could see him somewhere among the division's top ten.
Alves is, despite all his years in the UFC still very much a striker primarily, and at only 29 he's still in the prime of his career. He has great, if somewhat basic, Muay Thai technique and a lot of speed, aggression, and power. Much like a few other notable former prospects, he seems to be hampered by problematic fight IQ. And a number of knee injuries, stemming from his fight against Georges St. Pierre, have kept him sidelined for the last year.
For Brown, this is exactly what he wants. Alves is the type of striker who will give him opportunities to shine on the feet. I expect the two to spend a lot of time in the pocket where Brown can work on his impressive clinch game. It's not without perils though, as I expect Alves to have little trouble finding Brown's chin and he has the experience to exploit defensive weaknesses over and over again.
Ultimately this is a fight that asks the right questions. Is Matt Brown truly one of the best strikers at welterweight? can Thiago Alves rebuild his career as a top ten fighter? Is there any good reason not to watch this fight?
UFC on Fox Sports 1 1 takes place on August 17 and rumors are in the air that it may be headlined by Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen. We'll keep you posted with more fight announcements as they happen.