Nowhere to hide for GSP
Preview by Brady Crytzer
UFC 100 boasts a co-feature that would easily headline any other card on any other night as world welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defends his title against a physically imposing KO artist in Thiago “Pitbull” Alves. Although St. Pierre is tested in every bout, the young Alves presents a dangerous punch the likes never seen before by the champion. One mistake could be fatal, and this welterweight showdown is sure to deliver.
Striking: This welterweight showdown is all about speed versus power. St. Pierre has established himself as a seasoned and patient striker in his victories over Matt Hughes and Jon Fitch, but he has yet to show one punch KO power. Alves, on the other hand, has proven to be one of the most explosive and devastating strikers in the history of the 170 lb. division. Although Alves can most certainly end this fight with one punch (or flying knee ala Matt Hughes at UFC 85) St. Pierre will be able to bounce jabs and kicks off of the heavily muscled body of the challenger all night.
St. Pierre will use seasoned striking to outgun Alves, but beware the Brazilian can stop St. Pierre at any time with one huge blow.
Grappling: UFC president Dana White has joked that Alves appears as big as some of the sports premiere light heavyweights when he is not training. He wasn’t kidding. Alves is easily the largest man to have ever fought in the 170 lb. division, but his hulking frame has not translated into grappling superiority. Alves has been submitted by lesser fighters than St. Pierre, and the champion possesses a takedown, submission arsenal and ability to control from the top that will leave the challenger looking for a way out.
St. Pierre gets the nod in the grappling department. His battering of BJ Penn in January proves that he can control almost any from the top for three rounds…and his submission win over Hughes proves that he doesn’t always need to.
How They Match Up: St. Pierre will keep his belt, but it won’t be easy. Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves in the same cage will mark a meeting between the two most gifted athletes in UFC history.
St. Pierre will win this bout on class, but his will and guts will be tested like never before. In recent months, standing in the pocket with Alves has proven to be a death sentence, but St. Pierre will need to do so to win.
After landing some disheartening jabs and body kicks, St. Pierre will take his second-guessing challenger to the mat and finish him with his ever-improving submission game.
Just don’t expect this to be the last title fight for Thiago Alves.