UFC 100 is set to go down from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, July 11. The monumental fight card is poised to be perhaps the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) event in the relatively short history of the sport.
The promotion heightened the hoopla today with the first installment of its tried and true media call. The cast of characters this time around featured welterweight champion George St. Pierre and number one contender Thiago Alves -- Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir are scheduled to hit the airwaves next week.
Two words can sum up the tone of today’s UFC 100 media call: Respect and confidence.
Both St. Pierre and Alves spoke with a blend of these traits when asked about their impending fight, thoughts on each other and their individual journeys leading up to this historic moment.
St. Pierre started the call by giving respect to Alves, saying he knew Alves would be a future opponent after watching his fights against Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck. He drove his point home by bringing B.J. Penn into the equation.
"I truly believe that if you put Thiago Alves and B.J. Penn in a fight, I would bet all my money on Thiago Alves, no doubt about it. Thiago Alves is more dangerous because he is a gentleman. He is not someone that needs to trash talk to promote himself. He is a very respectful guy. Skill wise he brings more problems to the table then anyone I have fought so far. These things make him more dangerous. He is the best guy I will fight so far."
Alves was quick to recognize that St. Pierre is the champion, but is ready for the challenge.
"First of all, I think it is going to be a very well rounded fight. He is a complete fighter and the champion. I am ready for every situation though -- for the stand up, the wrestling and the ground work. I have a lot of respect for him and I am 100 percent ready for whatever he throws at me."
Both fighters were also asked about their weights and both revealed they were weighing in around 190-pound mark. When asked whether weight would give Alves and advantage over St. Pierre both were quick to dismiss the notion.
"I don’t think I will have an advantage over George. We are both going to have to weigh in at 170. At this level, I don’t think size advantage is going to matter. George is a pretty big guy and he is very well rounded so I am not counting on any size advantage. I am counting on my training and everything that I know and that I have been through. I am going to let it all go on July 11."
George was specifically asked if he changed his training when preparing for a bigger opponent and affirmed he hadn’t.
"I don’t think it makes a big difference because I always train with bigger guys. I truly believe in this sport skill and technique always beat strength and size. The guy that wins this fight is the better fighter, not the bigger guy. It will be the guy that fights the best."
When Alves was pressed about the takedown defense and how he would combat St. Pierre’s effective takedowns he spoke about how the takedowns were only one part of the equation.
"The thing is that GSP is dangerous everywhere. You have to be careful with him everywhere. Not just with his takedowns. Takedowns are just one of his weapons. He is a dangerous striker and has got great jiu-jitsu. Like I said though, I am prepared for everything.
I have been training with the best wrestlers, strikers and jiu-jitsu guys in the world. I am well prepared for this fight. GSP is the champion, he is the man. I can’t just think he is going to take me down. He is going to do everything, he is very well rounded."
When St. Pierre was asked about the dangerous leg kicks of Thiago Alves he, too, pointed out the well rounded nature of his opponent.
"Thiago has devastating leg kicks. But it's not the only thing he has got. He has great knees, a great left hook. He has good heavy hands. I have been studying a lot of tape and I have a specific strategy that I will use to take him out of his comfort zone. Thiago is always a better version of what he did in his last fight but I am ready for it. I will be fighting him everywhere and taking him out of his comfort zone in every aspect of his game. But like when you play cards, you don’t want to show your hand (laughs). So everyone will get to find out in the fight."
It was clear by the end of the call that both fighters had a lot of respect for the other while being extremely confident in their own abilities. While partaking in the back and forth between Penn and St. Pierre certainly made for good theater, it was refreshing to see two athletes at the top of their games focused on the fight and only the fight.
One thing is for certain. It will be an absolute war when George St. Pierre and Thiago Alves collide in the Octagon on Saturday, July 11, 2009. Who you got in this one, Maniacs?
Remember: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE updates with blow-by-blow, round-by-round commentary of the main card action on fight night, which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET.
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