Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (17-7) and John “Doomsday” Howard (14-5)
Kicking off the UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 pay-per-view broadcast is a match-up between two welterweights that promises fireworks.
Howard has knockout power in his punches and brings an assortment of kicks to the table. Alves, too, possesses knockout punching power, delivers devastating kicks to his opponents’ lower extremities, along with chin seeking knees from the clinch.
The area Howard has an edge in is wrestling, but Alves has good takedown defense. Howard might be able to get the American Top Team trained athlete to the ground a few times, but likely won’t be able to keep him there.
A couple of fighters have been able to employ the strategy of grinding wins out against Alves using takedowns and ground control: Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch. The two top ranked welterweights in the world.
You can expect the outcome of this match-up to be decided by a strike. Both Howard and Alves favor their striking as their primary weapon. Superior technique is going to go a long way on Saturday.
While Howard has heavy hands, he typically launches them in a looping style with his head exposed to a counter shot. Alves utilizes short punches inside the pocket where he unleashes combinations.
I wouldn’t expect this one to end early despite their arsenals of punishment. They’ve each displayed their durability in the past, but Alves should eventually earn a TKO win via a flurry of fists.
The odds makers have Alves as a -300 favorite and Howard a +220 underdog. I don’t disagree with those numbers, but I wouldn’t throw a ton of money down either way. Alves has the better striking, but a fight is a fight and Howard is more than capable of placing one of his bombs on the chin of Alves.
MMAWeekly.com’s UFC 124 main card breakdown:
-Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck Preview
-Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle Preview
-Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira Preview
-Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig Preview
-Thiago Alves vs. John Howard Preview