UFC 138 Winner Alves Ecstatic with Second Victory on British Soil

By Mike Whitman Nov 5, 2011
Though Thiago Alves has only fought twice in the United Kingdom, it has already become one of his favorite stages for combat.

On Saturday, Alves’ sophomore U.K. effort earned him a first-round submission over highly touted prospect Papy Abedi. Following his win over the previously unbeaten Swede on the main card of UFC 138 at LG Arena in Birmingham, England, Alves is now a perfect 2-0 on English soil.

“It feels amazing. I love England. Every time I come here, I have the best times of my career,” Alves told UFC.com immediately after defeating Abedi. “[I got] my win over Matt Hughes [at UFC 85], and now this win, which means a lot to me.”

Abedi entered the Octagon with a purpose, trying to control the standup by moving forward against the muay Thai specialist. Previously competing as a middleweight, Abedi looked chiseled for his 170-pound debut, showing little regard for Alves’ considerable reputation as a dangerous striker.

“I expected him to come out very strong at first, because it’s his first fight [in the UFC] and he wanted to make a good impression,” said Alves of his foe. “He’s also a big guy. If you look at him, he’s not your typical walking weight.”

In the end, the standup mismatch became apparent, as “Pitbull” clipped Abedi with a punch combination that put the Swede on wobbly legs. Pouncing with ferocious ground-and-pound, Alves dropped serious punishment on Abedi before taking his back and finishing with a rear-naked choke.

“I knew he was going to come strong, but I saw a few flaws in his game,” said Alves. “Every time he threw something, he would drop his hands. Every time I looked down, he would drop his left hand, so I came up with the right overhand and just went for the kill.”

After choking out an opponent for the first time in his decade-long career, Alves gave credit to his camp at American Top Team for the victory. Rebounding from a setback against Rick Story in May, Alves said he will use his rediscovered confidence to realize his full potential as a UFC welterweight.

“My coaches... it’s all because of them. They made me believe in myself again, now more than ever,” said Alves. “I’m ready to be everything I said I was going to be. So, bring it.”

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