Pros Picks: St. Pierre vs. Alves

Pros Picks

By Mike Sloan Jul 9, 2009
Regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Georges St. Pierre has gone on a tear of late, as he has steamrolled Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, Jon Fitch and, most recently, UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

The 28-year-old welterweight king wants nothing more than to extend his trail of destruction at 170 pounds when he meets Thiago Alves in the UFC 100 co-main event this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Alves has torn through the division in similar fashion en route to his landing a crack at St. Pierre (18-2). During his seven-fight winning streak, only two men have gone the distance against the Brazilian. Alves (16-3) has stopped five others -- Hughes, Tony DeSouza, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, Karo Parisyan and the always durable Chris Lytle -- in one fashion or another.

Sherdog.com spoke with dozens of MMA professionals and found out where they stood on this welterweight showdown.

Jeff Monson: Alves by TKO.

Jorge Santiago: Thiago by KO in the first round.

Roland Sarria: I think this will be St. Pierre’s biggest test ever. If GSP gets a win, he is the real deal made of steel. GSP will lose by decision.

Kevin Burns: I’m very excited to see this fight, and I know it will be action-packed. I look for GSP to take down Alves early to try and tire him out. I hope the fight stays standing. GSP is the winner.

Falaniko Vitale: GSP is the man. Hard to bet against him.

Frank Shamrock: I like GSP all the way. His game and flow are seamless.

Cung Le: GSP by submission.

Luigi Fioravanti: “Pitbull” by KO.

Jaime Fletcher: I can’t wait. I think we will see some entertaining striking, but once St. Pierre tastes some four-ounce gloves, we’ll see the wrestling and ground-and-pound fest commence. I’m gonna have to go with the Canadian, Gatorade-drinkin’ dude by decision.

Travis Lutter: I am picking GSP to win. His wrestling will dictate where the fight is going to be fought.

Chris Lytle: Tough fight [to call]. If GSP can get it to the ground every round, he’ll grind out the win. If not, Thiago will be the champ.

Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Is Alves a solid upset pick?
Erik Paulson: This UFC 100 is going to be a great. Some great and exciting matches. With the GSP and Alves fight, I predict nothing but an exciting fight, with both of these fighters at the top of their games, Alves with his aggressive attacks and GSP with his optimal application of his tactical strategy and counters. I’m gonna take GSP as the victor in the fifth round via judges’ decision.

Jason Lambert: GSP [by] second-round TKO.

Yves Edwards: Of course, I’m going with the “Pitbull” in this one, not only because he’s my teammate but because I truly believe he’s the best overall MMA test GSP will have faced. Pitbull’s style is to stop your shot and not let you hang out on him. GSP has a great shot and does well with his wrestling from the clinch. I see the Pitbull implementing his game and ending the fight in the third or fourth after his leg kicks take away some of GSP’s wrestling.

Guy Mezger: Good-looking fight, but GSP wins by being too physical for Alves.

John Hackleman: I think it will be a brutal beat down -- fourth round KO (sarcastically omits pick).

Kit Cope: I’m going with Alves on this one. Though GSP is a phenomenal all-around athlete, Thiago is a huge, powerful dude with plenty of skills. The only thing I think GSP will have over Thiago is a little speed and some wrestling. I know that Alves has really been working his submission game at ATT and is as hungry as I’ve ever seen him. Georges may be a little too comfy on his throne with someone this explosive knocking at the door.

Dewey Cooper: I think this is a tough fight for GSP. This will test the durability of GSP. Thiago Alves has an excellent Thai boxing striking base that possibly could be GSP’s demise. Alves’ powerful low kicks will be something GSP will have to elude and defend, as well as the superb knee techniques. The question that needs to be answered about Thiago is can he maintain a strong pace for the duration of five five-minute rounds? I went back and forth in my mind about who would be victorious in this battle. After contemplating for days, my final thoughts are that GSP will win this war. He seems to be the better athlete of the two, and I think his championship experience will propel him to a tough victory.

Marcus Hicks: I’m sorry to my fellow Canadians, but I gotta go with Alves by KO or TKO in this one.

Billy MacDonald: This is the most exciting matchup of the night in my opinion. GSP will find Alves tough to stand with, and this fight can go two ways. First, St. Pierre will be able to stay out of Thiago’s range and use his superior wrestling to dominate the fight and eventually ride out a decision victory in five rounds. On the other hand, say Alves catches GSP early with his vicious leg kicks and is able to avoid St. Pierre’s takedowns. Keeping this fight on the feet is Alves’ best option -- and probably only option to win -- and we know that GSP can be beaten on the feet. Although Alves would likely be a good bet in Vegas, my mind is telling me that GSP will control the fight and win via unanimous decision.

Bill Mesi: I’m Canadian, and as much as I don’t want to jump on the GSP bandwagon -- even saying GSP gives me a rash -- I think the guy is too dominant for this division. He’s much like Anderson [Silva] in that he’s just too big, too complete of a fighter, I believe. With that being said, I think Alves will be the toughest test to date; guy’s a mean boy with devastating stand-up and a legit ground game. I see a GSP decision. I’m gonna go put cream on this rash now.

Jess Liaudin: I think that Alves is gonna be dangerous and very strong in the first and second rounds. But GSP’s gonna have better cardio in the later rounds due to the fact that he’s not cutting as much weight as “Pitbull.” Also, the experience of already having been in championship fights is gonna give him the edge. I see him getting the takedown and working his ground-and-pound for a TKO in the fourth.

Tom Gavrilos: I expect to see GSP more hesitant than usual to stay in the pocket against Alves, but I trust he will come in with a sound game plan and execute. This one goes to GSP.

Jamie Varner: I have Alves winning.

Stav Economou: Alves looks like an absolute beast, and I think he will be GSP’s biggest test to date. That said, I still think that, when it’s all said and done, GSP will have his hand raised in victory after five brutal rounds.

Thomas Denny: I think GSP likes his nipples too much. I will say he has been spending too much time playing with them. Alves [by] TKO in round two. If GSP’s nipples aren’t chapped, he might have left them alone this camp. [In that case], GSP [by] decision. Just kidding. Alves [by] TKO round two -- final answer.

Robin Black: It is tough to bet against GSP in any fight. He looks terrifying. Sure, Alves is a tough, explosive fighter, but I see GSP hanging with him on the feet, scoring takedowns, passing to half guard and ground-and-pounding Alves the same way he has so many others.
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