Carlos Condit can get right back into the Welterweight title picture with a win over Thiago Alves, a +200 underdog on the MMA odds board for UFC Fight Night 67.
Win or lose, you know Carlos Condit is going to give you a fight. He's made 10 appearances in the Octagon, earning Fight of the Night honors four times and Knockout of the Night twice. Condit even won the UFC Interim Welterweight strap three years ago – but couldn't quite finish off Georges St-Pierre (–326) when the former champ returned from injury to reclaim his title. St-Pierre said Condit gave him the toughest fight he ever had.
High praise indeed. But now it's Condit who's attempting a comeback after a serious knee injury. He tore his ACL in last year's match against Tyron Woodley (+162), losing by TKO as a result. Is the “Natural Born Killer” 100 percent for his May 30 main event bout with Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 67, on Alves' home turf in Brazil? Condit says so, and the UFC odds at press time say he's a –240 favorite.
If it weren't for the knee injury, there wouldn't be much doubt about the result. Condit (29-8 lifetime) is indeed one of the better fighters ever to grace the Octagon. The Albuquerque native started training with Greg Jackson at age 15; he's 31 now, with black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Gaidojutsu – Jackson's own hybrid style. Condit was the last holder of the WEC Welterweight title, which he successfully defended three times. And he was just the second man to ever knock down St-Pierre, Matt Serra being the first.
But what about that torn ACL? Maybe we shouldn't be too concerned, at least not yet. St-Pierre came back from the same injury at roughly the same age, looked very good in the Condit fight despite the knockdown, and had another strong win over Nick Diaz before scraping by Johny Hendricks in his last fight. Condit, like St-Pierre, has a tremendous work ethic and should be very well prepared for his return. His short-term future looks bright.
All I Want Is a Couple Years Off
Alves (21-9 lifetime) doesn't present quite the same challenge as St-Pierre did. He worked his way up the ladder and earned a Welterweight title shot in 2009, but St-Pierre (–220) took him to the ground 10 times en route to an easy unanimous decision. Alves is 4-3 since that title challenge, with losses to Jon Fitch (+118), Rick Story (+210) and Martin Kampmann (+140).
But perhaps we're looking at a new Thiago Alves. He took two years off to lick his wounds, then came back last year with a unanimous decision over Seth Baczynski (+423), earning his second-ever Fight of the Night bonus. Then Alves upset Jordan Mein (–135) this past January, kicking him in the solar plexus and cashing in the Performance of the Night award. Yee-owtch.
The Kick Inside
It's those educated feet that Condit will be worried about when they meet in the Octagon. Alves started training in Muay Thai at the age of 15, and he also holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, working out of the American Top Team camp in Coconut Creek, Fla. Condit recently spoke to Portal do Vale Tudo and praised Alves as having “one of the heaviest leg kicks in the division.”
Condit doesn't seem too worried, though. He's got a more well-rounded toolkit than Alves, as well as a three-inch height advantage and a five-inch reach advantage. Condit's striking defense is very good (58 percent, according to FightMetric), and he's got plenty of knockout power – both with his hands and feet, and from a variety of angles, although his accuracy (40 percent) leaves something to be desired. As long as Condit's knee holds up, he should be able to keep Alves at bay. We're willing to risk some chalk that he does with our UFC picks.
Free UFC Pick: Take Condit -240 at 5Dimes