Long-time UFC veteran Thiago Alves made his debut with the company almost 13 years ago. A prominent piece of American Top Team, Alves has been fighting competitively most of his life. There have been ups and downs in his career, but “The Pitbull” is positive he is on the way back up.
Thiago Alves: The Pitbull Ready to Strike Again
The Early Days in Brazil
MMASucka was fortunate enough to speak with Alves about his early days in Brazil starting his MMA career. “I started fighting amateur at 14 years old,” Alves told MMASucka. “At 16 years old I started pro fights in Brazil.”
At 17 years old Alves would step in and suffer his first loss. It was to long-time UFC veteran Gleison Tibau, who is tied for second along with Demian Maia and Jeremy Stephens with 28 octagon appearances. Alves began with the art of Muay Thai, but knew after he tried MMA that this was the path he wanted to take. “I like how you can fight standing or on the ground. So many different things you can do.”
The Move to American Top Team
American Top Team was looking for talent from around the world to build their growing team of elite fighters. Alves told MMASucka he had a friend who was already a member of ATT, helping him in the door. Alves also sent tapes of his fights and was later asked to join the team. He has been there ever since, and even helps to coach some of the up and coming fighters.
Prior to joining the UFC, Alves compiled a record of 5-1. One of those victories would be over another future UFC star, Marcus Davis, at Hardcore Fighting Championships 2 in 2003. It was Davis’ first loss in his professional MMA career. Alves would also knock out Jeff Cox in 15 seconds of the first round at KOTC 48: Payback, making it all but a sure thing Alves would join the UFC. About eight months later Alves realized his dream and made his debut with the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world.
Entering the UFC
Alves is a true veteran of the UFC, with 23 career fights for the company. His debut was almost 13 years ago in October 2005. Alves had a great showing at UFC Fight Night 2, but would lose to Spencer Fisher in the second round. He made a quick turnaround and fought at UFC 56 in November 2005, pulling out the impressive first-round knockout against Ansar Chalangov.
Such dynamic performances would continue until a roadblock in Jon Fitch slowed Alves down at UFC Fight Night 5. After this setback in June 2006, Alves would string together five wins, with four being by knockout, leading into the UFC 85 main event with Matt Hughes.
UFC 85 Main Event
Alves went on a rampage through the welterweight division leading up to his first UFC main event spot. He earned a record of 7-2 before his big showing against future hall of famer Matt Hughes. The first round was a back and forth battle with no clear winner.
In the second round, Alves would catch Hughes coming in with a devastating knee. He pounced on top, landing a few big strikes before the bout was called to an end. With the way Alves handled Hughes, there was very little doubt that he was headed for a collision with the welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre.
Before that, Alves would have to take on a surging Josh Koscheck. The battle between Koscheck and Alves at UFC 90 was declared a title eliminator, with the winner earning the shot at GSP. Alves put on a show to claim the unanimous decision and set himself up for a title shot at the historic UFC 100 event on July 11, 2009.
UFC 100 and Fighting the GOAT
To celebrate the 100th numbered event, the show was headlined with three main event caliber matches. Alves got his chance at UFC gold after four years with the company. The reigning champion, GSP, was currently on a five-fight winning streak heading into UFC 100. He would never suffer another loss after his surprise knockout defeat to Matt Serra at UFC 69.
“It was very exciting to fight GSP,” Alves told MMASucka. “You could tell he was very methodic and always had a plan A, plan B, and plan C. He’s out there playing chess.” Though Alves was not able to get the win, he did go the full distance with arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Post UFC 100 and the Future
Almost eight years after his UFC 100 bout, Alves has continued to be active with the company. He compiled a record of 5-6, but has had a string of wild events over the last several months.
In September 2017 Alves was scheduled to fight Mike Perry. Due to Hurrican Irma, he was unable to make it to the fight. In January 2018 Alves looked to finally have a bout. His opponent, Zak Cummings, slipped getting out of the tub the day before the fight and had to pull out.
“Yeah that was quite the shit storm,” Alves stated. “It was just a series of bad events stopping me from getting in the cage. I was devastated when the fight was called off with Zak. My weight was on point and I was ready to go.” In one month’s time, Alves would end up getting in the cage to take on rising star Curtis Millender at UFC Fight Night 126. Alves took the loss but had a lot going on since his last bout almost 10 months prior which was a victory over Patrick Cote.
Alves would love to get back into action within the next few months. He had initially called out Yancy Medeiros but stated it was because Medeiros fought on the same card. Since Medeiros has a fight coming up, Alves with not concerned with who his next opponent will be. Hopefully, we will see “The Pitbull” back in the octagon very soon and back to his winning ways.
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