Rick Story wasn't given much of a chance against Thiago Alves last night (May 28, 2011) on the UFC 130 main card.
But, apparently, someone forgot to tell "The Horror" that he was supposed to lose.
In one of the most entertaining scraps of the night, the Washington native outwrestled and, surprisingly, outstruck his Brazilian counterpart to come away with a unanimous decision victory.
How did the Southern Oregon University standout wrestler pull off the upset?
Our complete fight breakdown is after the jump.
Within the first five seconds of the fight, Rick Story got into Thiago Alves' head with a big takedown. Alves would get to his feet but the college wrestler kept him locked in the clinch and hammered away with knees to the legs and short uppercuts from the back clinch.
Story would continue to wade in with looping hooks and pressure the Brazilian with takedown attempts and attacks from the clinch. This brilliant method of attack never allowed Alves to settle in and find his groove. It also kept the fear of the takedown in the back of Alves' mind whenever he felt like throwing something significant.
A frustrated Alves even attempted takedowns of his own, putting Story on his back temporarily in the second round but it wasn't nearly enough to win the round as Story was relentless with his aggression, clinches along the cage and punishing hooks. Alves continued to position himself poorly, allowing Story to back him into the cage and shoot for takedowns along the fence. The clinch completely neutralized "The Pitbull's" power.
Alves finally bounced back in the third round but he failed to pull the trigger and go for the finish when he had Story hurt and he didn't do enough damage to make up for losing the first two rounds. Perhaps the first two rounds of being outgrappled were in the back of his head but it was perplexing to watch. Even UFC President Dana White was disappointed in the American Top Team fighter's performance, stating he "couldn't believe Alves didn't go for it in the third."
When it was all said and done, Story pulled out a unanimous decision 29-28 on all three judges' scorecards.
For Thiago Alves, this had to be disappointing. He was really hoping to return to the top of the division and he'd looked back on track against John Howard at UFC 124 but he just didn't have an answer for Story's offensive grappling and pressure-striking attack. Surprisingly, this was also the fifth straight fight to go to a decision for the exciting striker.
Has Alves lost his finishing mentality? He's going to have to dig deep within himself and find it. He can't afford another loss after having now lost three of his last four fights. He'll be fed a mid-level guy in his next UFC fight but the Zuffa brass likely won't be impressed unless he can pull out a finish.
Rick Story has to be on top of the world right now. He handed Johny Hendricks his first career loss at the Ultimate Finale 12 and now he's gone and taken out a consensus top five welterweight in the world.
Story has most certainly jumped to the next level in terms of his status in the 170 pound division. Expect him to be given a serious contender in his next fight to find out just how good he really is. Maybe a similarly rising star like Jake Ellenberger which would be a rematch of his pre-UFC days or someone like B.J. Penn, Josh Koscheck or Jake Shields to see if this fight was a fluke or not.
Regardless, Story has made his mark on the division and ready for whatever is thrown at him next.
What did you think of "The Horror's" performance? Is he a legitimate contender?
Sound off, Maniacs!