Thiago Alves had hoped to make his return to the Octagon at UFC 171 in March, but that’s not going to happen. He will instead mark his comeback at UFC on Fox 11 on April 19 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
UFC officials on Thursday revealed that Alves would return opposite Seth Baczynski at the next “Big Fox” show, as well as announcing a fight for the same card pitting Caio Magalhaes against Josh Samman.
Alves (19-9) hasn’t fought since losing via guillotine choke to Martin Kampmann in a headlining bout at UFC on FX 2 in March of 2012. He has been sidelined with various injuries and multiple surgeries during the time since that fight.
The American Top Team fighter hasn’t been fully healthy for the past several years, since he injured his knee in a 2009 bout with Georges St-Pierre.
He rehabbed the knee at that time, but years later had to have surgery to repair both his ACL and PCL in his left knee. Alves also suffered a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery, and then a biceps injury.
“That’s surgery 4 in a year,” he tweeted following the biceps injury, his most recent. “You can call me the bionic Pitbull! Now the recovery starts!”
He’ll put his bionics to the test, not getting any sort of warm-up fight upon his return.
Baczynski (19-10) may not have the most impressive overall professional record, but he’s a go-big or go-home fighter, like Alves, who has a very aggressive style. With seven knockout victories and 10 submissions, Baczynski is a fighter that consistently goes for the finish.
After having a six-fight winning streak disrupted by back-to-back losses to Mike Pierce and Brian Melancon, Baczynski bounced back with a victory over Neil Magny this past November, having momentum and recent activity on his side. He has fought five times since Alves' bout with Kampmann.
Alves vs. Baczynski and Magalhaes vs. Samman will be part of the UFC on Fox 11 undercard supporting a five-round heavyweight headliner pitting Fabricio Werdum against Travis Browne, a fight in which the winner is likely to get the next heavyweight title shot.