The UFC 130 is going down on May 28th and there are plenty of amazing fights, despite losing its main event rematch between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. Today we’re going to focus on a tremendous Welterweight clash between Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (18-7) and Rick “Horror” Story (12-3). The winner of this fight could find themselves in a title elimination clash. We’re going to look at all facets of the game and let you know who should have their hand raised when it’s all said and done.
Thiago Alves has heavy hands for a Welterweight. His head movement is solid but he does have a tendency to drop his right while throwing a lead left. That said, his footwork usually has him out of harm’s way before the opponent can fire back. He has excellent knees and very solid kicks to make his standup a very respectable 8 out of 10.
Rick Story has good punching power, but lacks the basic technique that makes Thiago so dangerous. He can finish a fighter if he can trap him against the cage and unload, but he isn’t the guy who will normally pick you apart and finish you. He’s a grinder and that also applies to his standup. At times, for instance like in his fight with Dustin Hazelett, he looked great standing, but for the most part, his standup isn’t as good as his ground game. He scores 6 out of 10.
Thiago Silva holds a 2 point advantage.
Thiago Alves has adequate wrestling and actually managed to outwrestle John Howard in his last outing in the Octagon, but by and large, he’s not known for his wrestling prowess. His tremendous standup has in some ways alleviated his need for a top notch takedown game, but it has also hurt his ability to stop the takedown. Both Jon Fitch and Georges St Pierre took him down at will in their matchups. It could be a long night for Alves if he can’t keep Story from taking him down. Alves scores a 5 out of 10 in wrestling.
Rick Story is a wrestler. He’s got the wrestling pedigree wrestling in High School at Bethell High School in Washington and was the 2006 NAIA National Wrestling runner up at 184lbs for Southern Oregon University. He has seamless takedowns and a very tough clinch game. When he has a fighter down, he has very heavy accurate ground and pound. Rick has good balance and he can stuff takedowns and avoid being put on his back. He scores an 8 out of 10.
Rick Story holds a 1 point advantage
Thiago Alves is a member of American Top Team, so it goes without saying that he’s got excellent submissions. That said however, he’s only submitted another fighter one time. Back in 2004 he submitted Jason Chambers and since then, he has as many submissions as I do. Zero. It begs the question, how do you rank a fighter in submissions when he only has one submission to his credit? You would assume he has better submissions than Rick Story, but Rick has 3 submissions nearly half as many contests. Thiago scores 6 out of 10 here.
Rick Story has submitted three fighters in 12 wins and has never himself been submitted. He trains to be a well-rounded fighter and his submission game is better than most people would assume. I don’t see him as being a top level submission guy, but when he gets you hurt, he can finish you via submission. More importantly he has very good submission defense. The jury is still somewhat still out on him as a true submission grappler, but he’s no slouch. Rick Story scores 7 out of 10.
Rick Story has a 2 point advantage overall.
Thiago Alves has missed weight two times in his last five fights. Dana White has stated that if it happens again, he’ll no longer be booked at 170. He then went to dietician Mike Dolce and employed him and his Dolce Diet and looked tremendous in his last outing. Thiago is at an interesting point in his career where a loss could really set him back and put him on the outside of title contention for the next couple of years. Alves is expected to win, and is in a much more pressure situation to win this fight. It could work for him or against him. If he fights like he did against Howard, he can expect similar results.
Rick Story is on quite a roll. The UFC Welterweight division is deep and Rick finds himself right in the middle of the title mix. It’s pretty rare that a fighter goes on a five fight win streak inside the UFC and Rick Story is currently on that tear. If he wins, he can expect a matchup with Fitch/Koscheck or Jake Shields and then a possible title shot. Right now momentum is with Story, and he has the tools to get the job done here. He’ll have to survive some heavy offense, but if he can weather an occasional storm and employ takedowns, ground and pound and the clinch, he can and will win this fight.
This fight is razor close; overall Rick Story has a slight edge when you look at the little points systems. Funny thing is, these guys will be trying to knock each other out, submit each other and slam each other and points and intangibles are not going to tell the tale. This will be about gameplans, cardio and heart. In the end, Rick Story will win a unanimous decision.
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