Thiago Alves vs Laureano Staropoli
Saturday, May 11, 2019 –
Free UFC Pick: Thiago Alves
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle -106
The UFC returns to Brazil on Saturday May 11th and its bringing with it some of the biggest names Brazilian MMA has to offer. With a stacked card top to bottom, we have legends on the card that comes to a header with a title fight between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andreade. The betting value on this card however is difficult to find. The fights are lined very closely and practically every person on it is a gamer. I expect some close fights and some upsets this weekend.
The fight I am most closely eyeballing myself is Thiago “The Pitbull’ Alves vs Laureno Staropoli.
Thiago Alves is a muay thai specialist who has been in the UFC as long as I can remember. He is durable and has impressive technical offensive output, but he has settled into more of a gatekeeper role in the 170 pound division recently. Alves is 35 and is likely on the retirement run of his career and we can expect the UFC to throw young lions and cupcakes at him to use him as a measuring stick for the next crop of UFC talents. After losing by KO to Curtis Millender and dropping a decision to Alexey Kunchenko, Alves rebounded by winning a close, hard fought, split decision over Max Griffin. We were on that fight and cashed him as a +300 underdog.
Alves is clearly not the Alves of old, but he does still have that fire and he is technically better than a lot of the younger strikers in the division. Staropoli is 8-1 and only 26 years old, so he fits the UFC’s criteria for being matched with Alves perfectly. He dispatched his regional opponents as you would expect racking up 7 wins with 7 finishes. Staropoli then got his UFC debut against Hector Aldana and won a unanimous 3 round decision and seems to be a prospect. But let’s hit the brakes there. I can poke some holes in this record.
To begin with his first UFC opponent, Aldana was 4-0 as a professional and has since lost his 2 UFC fights making his record 4-2 and it would appear he was not ready for the big show. To get into the UFC Staropoli TKO’d Carlos Alberto Bazan Rojas, who is 8-6 with all of his losses coming by finish. Before that Staropoli beat Sebastian Delgadillo who is 1-2 in his MMA career and, prior to that, he faced Sebastian Munoz not once but twice and Sebastian’s MMA record is 0-2 with his only two fights coming against Staropoli. This is a MASSIVE step up in competition and Staropoli has an extremely padded record. I expect Alves to be better than Staropoli everywhere and the fact that we can get him as a pick’em has me very happy about the price.