Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves will make his official debut for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) later tonight (Fri., Sept. 11, 2020) at BKFC 12 live on Bare Knuckle TV from inside Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., as he takes on Julian Lane in the main event.
Alves, 36, is one of the most decorated MMA fighters to crossover to bare knuckle boxing since its arrival in 2018. The Brazilian fighter was a member of UFC from 2005-2019, compiling a record of 15-12 during that span with wins over notable fighters like Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Karo Parisyan, Patrick Cote, and Chris Lytle. Not to mention his 2009 title loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 100.
Despite all of his accolades in MMA, Alves is ready to turn the page and take a real shot at bare knuckle boxing. “Pitbull” signed with BKFC this past January and has no plans of looking back ahead of his debut later this evening.
“I’m done with MMA,” Alves told MMA Fighting. “I’ll focus on bare-knuckle boxing for now, a promotion I think has grown a lot in the United States, so I can do the same thing I’ve done with MMA a while back, in the golden era. It’s time to join a promotion that just doesn’t stop growing.”
Alves, who ended up losing six of his final eight UFC appearances, is hoping for a fresh start under the BKFC banner. Given his track record in UFC and fan-friendly fighting style, “Pitbull” may end up becoming the biggest star BKFC has. It’s an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, especially when he has the chance to become world champion.
“I’ll only be in MMA as a coach now, helping other fighters at American Top Team,” Alves said. “I think bare-knuckle boxing is perfect for me now. I don’t have to worry about grappling, about kicks, about knees and elbows, so it’s a lot easier to train and easier for my body, too, especially since I’m a coach at ATT, so I have to be always ready and with the body fresh to do a good work. And also be a father, a husband, everything.
“I think I did what I had to do in MMA. The only think I couldn’t do was become champion, but I wasn’t the champion against the greatest fighter the UFC’s ever had in the division, so I’m thrilled with the career I had in MMA. Bare-knuckle boxing is my focus now, 100 percent. I want to be champion, and that’s a belt we don’t have yet (at ATT).
With a new career in front of him Alves has had the opportunity to retool his abilities as a fighter. As we know, MMA and bare knuckle boxing differ in many ways. Not just the way strikes are thrown and absorbed, but also the no-glove factor.
“It’s different,” Alves said of his training. “I’m working on making my fists and hands stronger, hitting the pad with no gloves on, and working with tiny gloves, because we have to adjust to the scenario we’ll experience in the fight. The distance is a bit different, for sure, but MMA gloves or no gloves, that doesn’t really make a difference. MMA gloves gives you more protection so you can punch a bit harder, but it’s going to be interesting.”
While Alves hasn’t scored a knockout victory since ending Jordan Mein via body kick back at UFC 183 the Brazilian veteran believes his matchup with Lane at BKFC 12 will produce fireworks. After all, Lane is the type of fighter who is going to be very aggressive out of the gate and allow “Pitbull” to land his best shots.
“As soon as (the referee) says go, let’s do it,” said Alves, who believes Lane will give up before the end of the fight. “He’s young, experienced, and loves to fight. Let’s see how much he loves to fight me.”
Click HERE to find out how to watch BKFC 12: “Alves vs. Lane” later tonight.