Well, the good news is Thiago Alves figured out how to avoid getting humped on his back for three rounds. The bad news is Rick Story figured out new weaknesses to take advantage of, and rode them to a unanimous decision win.
Not so surprisingly, Story had a lot of success pushing Alves into the cage and bulling him around, mixing his wall and stall up with those patented crazy body shots and nice uppercuts on the inside. More surprising was how Story outstruck Thiago on the feet in general, wading in without fear and getting the best of him in the pocket.
Story clearly won rounds 1 and 2, and here’s where Thiago’s performance was kinda annoying. He knew Story’s gameplan – he’d been experiencing it for the past 10 minutes. It was obvious he had to stop getting walked into the cage and stop getting tied up. Yet for four of the final five minutes he continued to make the same mistakes and let Story control things.
Story was running out of gas in the third and Alves was having a lot of success lighting him up, but he wasted too much time and waited until the last 30 seconds before really letting it all hang out. Story proved he had a chin, eating some crazy knees and blows from Alves. But it just wasn’t enough and Story took it 29-28 on all three judge’s cards.
With that, he becomes an interesting contender in the UFC’s 170 pound division. Not ‘Let’s see how he does against GSP’ interesting, but I’d love to see if he can knock Jon Fitch off his perpetual #2 perch in the division.