You can't say Thiago Alves is short on confidence heading into his upcoming fight with stand-up specialist Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC 149 on July 21, 2012. In fact, the Brazilian slugger "guarantees" that he has what it takes to finish "The Killer" when the two face off in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Alves, who at one time was considered one of the most lethal strikers in the 170-pound division, has fallen on tough times since losing to Georges St. Pierre in his lone title shot back at UFC 100. Including that loss, "Pitbull" has compiled a 2-4 record, with one of those victories coming by way of submission.
In fact, the Brazilian's last stoppage victory (via strikes) came at UFC 85 way back in 2008, when he defeated former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes with a beautiful flying knee and a few follow-up punches for good measure.
Whether it be via submission or knockout, Alves tells Tapout Radio that his fight against Bahadurzada will not go to the judges' scorecards.
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"I'm very excited. I think it's not a better match-up, but that it's a better fight, because Siyar is coming from a big knockout against Paulo Thiago, and I definitely want to avenge that with a victory for my country, and of course for my camp as well. He has a lot of hype behind him, so I'm very excited to accept this challenge. I feel like I have the edge in experience and in the level of competition. The level of competition he was fighting wasn't the level of the competition that I'm used to fighting. That's definitely going to come into play with this fight. Also, the skill set comes into play. I think I'm a much better fighter everywhere in the game, and July 21, I'm going to go out there and execute it. He comes from a highly decorated striking background, and he's from Golden Glory, but, he's never rolled with the big boys before. The first fight he has in the UFC was too quick. We really don't know what he's made of yet. I'm going to put him to the test, though. I know I'm the better fighter. I know I'm more well rounded. I guarantee this fight won't go the distance. I'm either going to knock him out or I'm going to submit him."
Siyar, who made his long-awaited UFC debut in impressive form by knocking out Paulo Thiago in under a minute at UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva, got the call to step in against Alves when "Pitbull's" original opponent, Yoshihiro Akiyama, bowed out with a knee injury.
"The Killer" has yet to be knocked out in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, with his four losses coming by way of submission or decision. On the flip side, he does know a thing or two about swinging heavy leather, knocking out six of his last seven opponents.
In what promises to be an entertaining affair, seeing as how Bahadurzada aims to always do his best Mike Tyson impersonation when he steps inside the cage, both are looking to prove a point.
Alves wants to remind the MMA world that he is still a forced to be reckoned with despite his recent setbacks and Siyar would undoubtedly like to show that his debut was no fluke performance.