Thomas Gerbasi, UFC – Entering his UFC 85 main event against Matt Hughes, Thiago Alves’ right ankle was sprained and heavily taped, but apparently his left knee was just fine as he used it to score a stunning second round TKO over the former two-time UFC welterweight champion in front of 15,327 fans at the O2 Arena Saturday night.
By Thomas Gerbasi
LONDON, June 7 – Entering his UFC 85 main event against Matt Hughes, Thiago Alves’ right ankle was sprained and heavily taped, but apparently his left knee was just fine as he used it to score a stunning second round TKO over the former two-time UFC welterweight champion in front of 15,327 fans at the O2 Arena Saturday night.
“He’s a good fighter, he got me, no doubt about it,” said a gracious Hughes, who took the bout on short notice after two main events fell out due to injury, and agreed to go ahead with the bout with Alves at a catchweight of 175 pounds after the Brazilian was unable to make weight.
“I want to apologize for not making weight,” said Alves. “I had a sprained ankle a few days before the fight and wasn’t able to train.”
He was able to perform when the bell rang though.
The gameplans were cut and dried in this one – Hughes wanted it on the mat, Alves wanted to keep it standing, and Hughes immediately looked for the takedown. He was rebuffed the first time, and the second time saw him pull guard to get Alves down. While there, Alves was able to draw blood from Hughes’ nose and get back to his feet. By the midway point of the round though, Hughes had Alves down again; this time, he was controlling matters from the top. No real telling blows were landed there, but Hughes was working Alves, undoubtedly weakening a fighter who was drained from trying to make weight. By the end of the round though, Alves had turned the tables, landing with some ground strikes until the bell sounded.
Hughes’s first takedown attempt of the second round was greeted by a knee to the head, and the blood began flowing again as Hughes went to his back. Alves scored with a couple of ground strikes and the fight resumed on the feet again. Hughes tried to get Alves back down but couldn’t and as they stood apart, Alves shot in himself – this time it was with a flying left knee that caught Hughes flush. Hughes fell to the canvas, with Alves’ follow-up forcing a stoppage from referee Herb Dean at 1:02 of the round.
“I’ve been a good boy, I never choose my opponents,” smiled Alves while addressing UFC President Dana White. “Please give me a title shot.”
As for the 34-year old Hughes’ future after losing three of his last four bouts, the future Hall of Famer still has plans on stepping into the Octagon at least one more time.
“I’ve got one more fight in me,” said Hughes. “That’s Matt Serra. My wife wants it, I want it, and all these fans want it.”
With the win, Alves improves to 21-4; Hughes falls to 43-7.