The UFC’s second event to feature a main card on FX features four quality fights. Most fans, however, probably haven’t heard or seen much of the participants of three of those fights. Court McGee vs. Costa Philippou is a more relevant fight than it’s being given credit for, and I doubt a majority of UFC fans know a whole lot about Joseph Benavidez or Demetrious Johnson. They definitely don’t know about Ian McCall or Yasuhiro Urushitani (in fairness, I didn’t know much about Urushitani either). But the main event is something that should get them to tune in – a welterweight match between UFC veterans in Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann.
What’s particularly exciting about this fight is that both guys like to stand and strike. Alves is well-known as a Muay Thai fighter with powerful, technical leg kicks, and crushing knees, like the one he used to knock out Matt Hughes. As a boxer, Alves is adequate, but his best tools in the striking game are definitely his legs, as his multi-dimensional striking game often gives opponents who have more rudimentary striking serious fits. It doesn’t hurt that Alves is a humongous welterweight. Yes, he’s had his issues making weight in the past, but since enlisting the services of master nutritionist Mike Dolce, he’s been doing a lot better, and at the time of this writing, Alves has already weighed in at 170.5 pounds for Friday night’s fight against Kampmann.
Like Alves, Kampmann likes to strike as well. Kampmann doesn’t use kicks and knees like Alves, but he’s very good at using his hands to score points. Kampmann is a very good boxer, and against most of his opponents, he’s a good enough boxer that he can out-point his adversary. Combine the boxing skills with tough takedown defense, and a quite good ground game, and the result is an extremely well-rounded fighter who is tough to deal with in any situation.
In this case, I’ll be surprised if this fight is something other than mostly a striking match. In a striking match, both fighters have something going for them. Kampmann might be able to land strikes with a little more volume than Alves; if Alves has trouble boxing with Kampmann, it’s quite possible that Kampmann could win a decision based on a striking match. Alves, on the other hand, is probably more likely to finish this fight by KO or TKO. While his finishing rate isn’t dramatically different from Kampmann’s, Kampmann has been defeated by TKO three times, against just once for Alves.
SILVA PREDICTION: THIAGO ALVES (75.97) OVER MARTIN KAMPMANN (60.77)
Alves gets the nod because, despite being 2-3 in his last five fights, he’s faced a higher level of competition than Kampmann has. Now, Kampmann has faced guys like Carlos Condit, so he’s not exactly inexperienced, but Alves’s level of competition is just that slight bit higher, and he is 7-3 in his last 10 fights, compared to 6-4 for Kampmann. In this particular fight, I think the man who wins will be the one who better controls the distance. If Alves gets to rip Kampmann’s legs with kicks from the outside, without being countered by Kampmann’s punches, he’s a good bet to win. If Kampmann can get inside and make it a boxing match, he still has to watch out for Alves’s knees, but he’s in a much better position. Either way, this figures to be a great fight and a war. Enjoy.