While Thiago Alves' weight issues were not much of a surprise to anyone who has followed his career, it is absolutely inexcusable for him to continue to miss weight. He pulled this nonsense previously at UFC 85, topping the scales at 174lbs before taking KO of the night honors in his fight with Matt Hughes. Everyone has come out of the woodwork to chastise Alves, which is understandable, but it's the talk of Alves moving up in weight that is confusing me.â†µ
Dana White spoke on the matter during the UFC 117 post-fight press conference:â†µ
"We were just texting a few minutes ago before I came in. He said, 'I'm sorry about that, I'll come back stronger.' I said, 'Yeah, at 185 you will.' He said, 'No, I want to fight at 170.'"â†µ
"He looked lethargic tonight; he looked slow. He doesn't belong at 170. He belongs at 185 pounds," said White. "That's where I'd like to see him, at 85.â†µ
"It's (expletive) to have guys make weight and have guys not make weight, especially at this level. When you're in the UFC, your job is to make weight, end of story. I don't think that Thiago didn't not want to make weight, he can't."â†µ
"I guarantee you he can make 185. If he can't fight at 185, then I don't know what to tell you. You're too big."â†µ
A move to 185lbs would be certain death for Alves. At 5'9, Alves would be the shortest fighter in the UFC's middleweight division by far. Rousimar Palhares being 5'8 is an extreme outlier, and since he seems content to win fights by tearing out his opponents' knees, I would assume Alves wouldn't jump at the chance to fight him. For the most part, middleweights in the UFC tend be 6'0 or taller, with only a few notable stand-outs like Wanderlei Silva coming in at 5'11. Alves would be giving up a significant amount of reach, not exactly ideal for someone who relies on striking to win fights. And his famous leg kicks? Consider them all but useless against a larger opponent looking to take him down. It's not so much that they wouldn't do damage, he just won't throw them. If he can't stay off his back against wrestlers at 170lbs, how is going to handle the middleweights?â†µ
The solution? Alves needs to do whatever he can to make 170lbs. Be it a leaner, less protein heavy diet, less weight lifting, more cardio, or even the dreaded colonic, he has to find a way to stay in the welterweight division. In addition to likely losing a good bit more of his fights, a move up in weight also removes him from the big money fights at welterweight. While he could perpetually be floating somewhere around the top five guys at 170lbs, he's going to be a much harder sell come contract time after not faring so well against bigger fighters like Marquardt, Lawlor, and Leben. Unless Dana wants to give him some kind of insane contract to fight heavier, Alves would be nuts to even consider it. If he doesn't get his act together soon, Alves is going to be a world of hurt.