Alves Not Doing Himself Any Favors As A Welterweight
Thiago Alves has had a rough go as of late.
His fight with Jon Fitch had been pushed back several times due to injury and a career-threatening diagnosis earlier this year.
And when he finally had the opportunity to fight Fitch this past weekend at UFC 117, the oversized welterweight failed to make weight and elected to take the 20% cash penalty off of his guaranteed money to avoid cutting the final half-pound necessary to avoid consequences.
Alves was adamant leading up to the fight about how he would have no problem making weight. Members of his team were stating that he would be fine and Alves himself posted a picture on Twitter with a comment suggesting that the weight cut was not going to be a problem.
However, it was still hardly a shocker when Alves hit the scales overweight, electing to take the fine as opposed to attempt and lose the measly half-pound.
Now, Alves defends his decision, telling MMAjunkie.com earlier this week that it would have been detrimental for him to shed the small amount of weight, and that taking the fine was the lesser of two evils.
If cutting one half-pound is more difficult than giving up one-fifth of your purse, Alves needs to reassess his spot on the welterweight roster. After all, losing 20 percent of your purse and still losing the fight just doesn’t seem like a sound decision.
Not only that, but it is completely unfair to an opponent such as Fitch, who never misses weight, to have to fight an opponent who failed to follow through on the weight agreement set forth in the contracts.
Now, in Alves defense, he does drop a lot of weight before the fight, and we have seen him make it to 170 before. However, cutting down from somewhere in the ballpark of 200 pounds, Alves makes a giant leap down in weight the week before every one of his fights, which leads to the main question.
Does the size advantage outweigh the problems brought forth from cutting so much weight prior to a fight?
Well, last weekend tells me one thing, and that’s the fact that Alves is not doing himself any favors cutting down so much weight.
Fitch took him down fairly effortlessly throughout the fight, and Alves could not get anything going in the striking game, which simply makes one wonder exactly why he feels his size advantage is so critical.
But it does not seem that Alves prefers the size advantage as much as he prefers staying away from the middleweight division.
Yes, he may be a big welterweight, but, at the 185-pound mark, he would be quite small. Alves is anything but tall and his reach is cut down severely when compared to some of the better middleweight competitors.
However, the weight cut to 170-pounds seems to be seriously hindering Alves performance. In his last two outings, his striking has been non-existent and his takedown defense has been abysmal. Sure, he fought two of the best wrestlers in mixed martial arts, let alone the welterweight division, but the absurd weight cut certainly did not help his performance, and his size advantage did nothing to help him against the top tier welterweights.
Alves may not love the decision to jump to middleweight, but he simply can’t keep attempting to make the 170-pound mark. UFC President Dana White is getting fed up with it, and it’s not like Alves is doing big things in the cage lately.
Quite simply, it’s time for a change.
At 185, the Brazilian striker will certainly maintain his power and, likely, still be just as fast. Not only that, but he won’t have to drain himself each time he hits the scales.
It might not sound pretty right now, but Alves has failed to defeat the top tier welterweights and it seems as long as St. Pierre and Fitch are around, the Muay Thai fighter won’t be holding a belt at 170-pounds anytime soon.
Alves needs to stop struggling to make the drop to compete at welterweight, only to surrender part of his purse in a losing effort.
Yes, the middleweight division holds some new challenges for Alves. He will be shorter, have a smaller reach, and will still have to go up against some solid wrestlers, but his performances will be much improved without having to drain himself for each and every weigh-in.
The decision would mark a new chapter in the life of the former welterweight top contender, but, at this point, the jump to the 185-pound division seems beneficial for Alves, if not necessary.
It’s time to open up that new chapter.