News broke today that Thiago Alves will find himself with a new opponent at UFC 149 from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Originally scheduled to face Yoshihiro Akiyama on the card, he will now fight surging prospect Siyar Bahadurzada. This announcement adds some fireworks to the card, as both fighters love to throw leather with bad intentions. The bout holds different but important implications for both fighters.
Alves is looking to get a win streak going, having once been a title challenger against Georges St. Pierre at the legendary UFC 100 card. However, that was almost three years ago, and “The Pitbull” has since dropped three out of five fights. His most recent loss to Martin Kampmann was especially damaging, as Alves seemed to dominate the action on the feet before attempting an ill-advised takedown and being caught in a fight-ending guillotine choke. With wrestling never being his strong point, one has to wonder why Alves did not stick to his vicious and successful Muay Thai. A win over Bahadurzada is crucial if Thiago Alves wishes to hold onto any shot of relevancy in the stacked Welterweight division.
Siyar Bahadurzada comes into UFC 149 with momentum. He knocked out Paulo Thiago in a mere 42 seconds in Sweden at UFC on Fuel TV 2. Bahadurzada sits with an impressive 21-4-1 record in MMA, 11 wins coming by (T)KO. A fight against Alves presents a great opportunity to face someone with name recognition. He could become an instant contender in the logjam at Welterweight.
Who will win this battle of strikers at UFC 149? This is a bout where anything could truly happen with both fighters bringing legitimate knockout power to the Octagon. Will Thiago Alves remain relevant, or will Siyar Bahadurzada find himself skyrocketing up the Welterweight ladder in Calgary?