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    Thread: Thiago Alves - Smiling, but Still Dangerous

    1. #1
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      Default Thiago Alves - Smiling, but Still Dangerous

      Thiago Alvesí first trip to England for a UFC fight may or may not earn a place on his personal highlight reel, depending on which part of the journey weíre talking about.

      If weíre talking about the lead up to the fight against Matt Hughes, which included an injured ankle and an agonizing weight cut that Alves knew wasnít going to be successful, he admits to ďfeeling desperate, thinking I was not gonna be able to fight.Ē

      Yet despite coming in at 174 pounds for the welterweight bout, Alves got to fight when Hughes agreed to carry on with the UFC 85 main event, and that part of the trip, well, Alves was pretty cool with it.

      ďFight day, I had a great time,Ē he laughs, which is not surprising, considering that he knocked the UFC Hall of Famer out in the second round. It was an impressive showing, not just because of the opposition, but because he was able to take the turmoil of the previous week, put it in the back of his mind, and perform when he needed to.

      ďIt was just my mindset, and I was very blessed that day also,Ē he said. ďI had a goal in front of me, I put a lot of work into it and I wanted a reward, and I went there and got it. Thatís exactly the mentality I have right now too. I know itís not gonna be handed to me, so Iím gonna go out there and take it.Ē

      Right now, Alves is in England again, Birmingham to be exact, preparing for a big fight on Saturday against unbeaten, but relatively unknown, Papy Abedi. Itís big because itís a chance for the ďPitbullĒ to right his ship after losing three of his last four bouts. So he knows whatís on the line this weekend.

      ďIím to the point in my life right now that I donít want to lose any fights anymore and itís up to me,Ē he said. ďI control my destiny, and I took control of all my actions and everything that happens in my life. This is it. Iím gonna take charge of my present and my future, and Iím not losing any fights anymore. I put in the work, and now I just have to go out there and perform at my best, and I know once Iím at my best, nobody can stop me.Ē

      The win over Hughes took place in the midst of a seven fight winning streak that took Alves from talented underachiever to the legit number one contender in the welterweight division. But losses to champion Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch (in their rematch), and a scare when an irregularity on his CT scan stemming from a pre-existing condition forced a surgery before the second Fitch fight to separate an artery from a vein in his brain, set him back considerably. And though he pounded out a win over John Howard at UFC 124, a decision loss to Rick Story at UFC 130 in May was another disappointment despite Alvesí belief that he did enough to win the fight.

      ďThe last fight, I really learned a lot,Ē he said. ďJust because I worked so hard in my training camp, I thought the fight was gonna be easy. But when I wanted to fight, it was too late, and when I put in the work in the last round when I turned it up, it was too late. The first round I definitely lost, but I still think I got the second round by a small margin, and the third round I really took over. So I donít really believe it, but I learned not to leave anything to anybody to decide. Iím gonna take control.Ē

      And if anyone sounds more pleasant than Alves heading into a pivotal bout like this, I havenít found him, and it appears to be a bunch of factors at work here. First, heís confident that heís sewed up the holes in his game for this bout. Two, heís in his third camp with diet and conditioning guru Mike Dolce and he feels like heís finally hit his stride. And finally, heís not going to be fighting a wrestler (like GSP, Fitch, or Story) this Saturday.

      ďThat too,Ē he laughs. ďBut thatís the thing. Iím looking for a wrestler after this just to see what Iím capable of doing. Thatís the whole MMA game, and youíve got to adjust to every situation. Itís flattering that they donít want to stand and trade with me, but it shows that I need to improve in other areas. Iíve done it before, and itís just a matter of time before I do it again. Everything in my life now, I think itís just a matter of time. Iím gonna get everything that I want to get; itís just timing and Iíve got to be patient and act when I need to act.Ē

      As for the weight, the albatross that he has carried for years, the 28-year old sounds like heís got everything under control, and he even claimed a week ago (when this interview was conducted) that he could have made weight by last Friday, something he wouldnít dare to say previously.

      ďItís a blessing,Ē said Alves. ďAnd this is the first time that Iím actually comfortable with it. This time I see the results on my body and the change in my body and I see the change on the scale as well, so itís pretty awesome not having to worry about the weight, and the weight is no longer an issue, so itís one less worry in my head, and Iím very excited to get in there and perform.Ē

      But what about the wildcard in all this, Swedenís Abedi, who comes into the UFC with a stellar reputation and everything to gain from toppling a respected contender like Alves? Was the Brazilian surprised that he was given a newcomer for his bout on this UFC 138 card, and not a more high-profile foe?

      ďA little bit,Ē he admits. ďBut like I said, Iím at the point in my career where I canít afford any losses anymore, so Iím taking this fight as a high profile fight like a title shot or something thatís gonna decide my life forever, especially because I have so much expectations on me. If itís somebody that nobody knows, people expect more from me, but I donít really think about what people expect. I think about what I expect from myself, so Iím very prepared wherever the fight goes. Iíve seen all his best fights and heís a tough guy, but heís never fought on the UFC level before, and itís gonna be a big change for him. So itís an opportunity for him, but itís an opportunity for me too.Ē

      That opportunity is to put on a spectacular Pitbull-esque performance and end 2011 in impressive fashion before looking toward 2012. Papy Abedi is thinking the same thing though, and Thiago Alves knows itÖand likes it.

      ďIf you look at this (fighting in the UFC) as an opportunity to do what you love to do and go out there and make all your dreams come true, then thatís a dangerous man, and thatís the way I think he (Abedi) is thinking right now,Ē said Alves. ďBecause thatís exactly what Iím thinking and exactly what I want.Ē


    2. #2
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      Default Re: Thiago Alves - Smiling, but Still Dangerous

      love his style of fighting....he is always looking to finish the fight

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