LAS VEGAS - The UFC has a new contender to put in line for Georges St-Pierre. There's nothing fancy about Rick Story, but he's tough as nails and throws everything with nasty intent. Story stood toe-to-toe with one of the most feared muay thai practitioners in the division and posted a unanimous decision victory, 29-28 on all three cards, at UFC 130 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Alves (23-6, 10-5 UFC) is a massive 170-pounder and anyone who can wrestle generally tries to take him down. Story, a former college wrestler, mixed in a few takedowns, but his gameplan revolved around closing space with the bruiser and slugging it out.
"My goal was to be explosive because I think that's his kryptonite," Story said. "I wanted to stay on him and let him know that I wasn't going anywhere."
Story's gameplan was brilliant. His use of the clinch along the cage forced the heavily-muscled Alves to work hard. And by standing in front of him and taking his best shots, it seemed to frustrate Alves.
"I've had a lot of hard strikes landed on me and it goes back to my conditioning. My coach, Pat White, puts me in situations in training where I have to deal with adversity and have to deal with having my conditioning tested. I was prepared for everything Thiago brought tonight and the end result is a victory for me," said Story, plus-170 underdog.
Story (13-3, 6-1 UFC) is riding a six-fight win streak. His only loss came in his UFC debut against John Hathaway. Story is still behind several fighters in the UFC welterweight division, but his skillset would give him a shot against the GSP, the division's champ.
The division has ridiculous depth. The latest USA Today/Bloody Elbow has Story all the way down at No. 23. He certainly looks like he could compete with some of the top 15 fighters like Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Matt Hughes.
Alves appeared shocked in the cage when the decision was read.
"To be honest, I don't think he won the fight," Alves said. "I'm fair. If I thought he won the fight, I'd tell you. But tonight, I spent more time on top and landed the better shots. I'm really surprised the decision didn't go my way."
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