After undergoing minor surgery to correct a brain "irregularity" that prompted his withdrawal from UFC 111 last March, former welterweight number one contender Thiago Alves will finally get another chance to avenge his loss to Jon Fitch, this time at UFC 117 tentatively scheduled for Oakland, Calif., on August 7.
Originally booked for UFC 115 in Vancouver, MMAFighting reported the change in dates earlier today via text message from UFC President Dana White.
The Brazilian was pulled from the March 27 rematch against his 170-pound nemesis after failing a pre-fight CAT Scan. In his absence, Ben Saunders stepped up on short notice to replace him but went home on the wrong end of a unanimous decision after Fitch overwhelmed him with a mixture of wrestling and ground and pound.
This will be the third time the promotion has tried to hook these two up for a long-overdue rematch.
Originally pegged for UFC 107 in Memphis, Tennessee,"The Pitbull" had to withdraw due to a knee injury. Fitch remained on the card and defeated Mike Pierce via unanimous decision.
Fitch scored a convincing second round technical knockout of the Brazilian at UFC Fight Night 5. He would go on to win his next five fights and earn a crack at division champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87: "Seek and Destroy" in Aug. 2008.
He was overwhelmed by the Canadian for 25 minutes, losing a lopsided unanimous decision.
Alves, too, went on a tear after the loss to Fitch with seven consecutive victories over top-ranked opponents such as Matt Hughes and Karo Parisyan, as well as outpointing Josh Koscheck on all three judges scorecards at UFC 90 in October of 2008.
However, St. Pierre would also end Alves’ run with another five-round clinic at UFC 100 back in July.
On the other hand, Fitch exacted revenge against submission specialist Paulo Thiago with a unanimous decision at UFC 100 and notched a similar result against Akihiro Gono earlier this year. He also outworked Mike Pierce (Alves' replacement at UFC 107) to earn the nod from all three judges sitting ringside.
So is Fitch still better than Alves more than three years later? Or has Alves matured to a point where his last loss is essentially meaningless because he is a totally different fighter?
We may finally get the chance to find out in Oakland.
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