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Maggie Hendricks

Rollercoaster of fights: The ups and downs of Alves' career

Cagewriter

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Thiago Alves will fight Jon Fitch this Saturday, and the winner will likely get the next shot at the UFC welterweight belt. For someone who has been as successful as Alves, he has faced many peaks and valleys.

Valley: Alves started his UFC career off with a bang but not a good one for him. At Ultimate Fight Night 2 in October 2005, Alves lost to Spencer Fisher by rear-naked choke. It wasn't a memorable debut.

Peak: After beating Ansar Chalangov by TKO at UFC 56, Alves won again at UFC 59. He beat Derrick Noble by the same method at UFC 59. Both fights were first-round stoppage.

Valley: The Alves train was derailed at Ultimate Fight Night 5. Fitch, his opponent for this weekend, TKO'd Alves in the second round.

Peak: Alves rebounded from the Fitch loss with a decision win over John Alessio and then a punishing knee KO of Tony DeSouza at UFC 66.

Valley: Whoops! Alves tested positive for a banned diuretic at UFC 66. He was suspended eight months and fined $5,500.

Peak: Alves returned to the cage in September 2007 and started off with TKOs of Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Chris Lytle. That led to a Ultimate Fight Night matchup with Karo Parisyan, where Alves overwhelmed his opponent at the beginning of the second round, winning by TKO.

Peak with a touch of valley thrown in: Those wins earned Alves a shot at Matt Hughes, the former welterweight champ. Before their bout at UFC 85 in England, Alves couldn't make weight. The two fought at a catchweight of 174 pounds, and Alves won Knockout of the Night after taking Hughes out with a flying knee on June 7, 2008.

Valley: A win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 90 earned Alves a shot at GSP and the welterweight title at UFC 100 during the summer of 2009. That didn't go so well. GSP outwrestled and overwhelmed Alves, controlling him throughout the match.

Valley: Days before he was set to rematch Jon Fitch at UFC 111 in March of this year, Alves was not cleared to fight by New Jersey officials. He found out he had a small brain issue that had to be corrected with surgery.

So here we are, days before Alves and Fitch are finally set to fight at UFC 117. What do you think this weekend will be for Alves? A peak, like when he TKO'd so many fighters, or a valley, like when he last lost to Fitch?

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