So UFC 210 is just days away and despite a card filled with many unfamiliar faces, there are two veterans of the game smack in the middle of the main card as former middleweight title challenger Patrick Cote faces off against former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves. Both men have seen brighter days during their mixed martial arts careers and despite some tough losses in their recent outings, are still two dangerous welterweights.
Patrick Cote has had a reputation for two things: being extremely durable and hitting like a mack truck. Both qualities can be supremely beneficial for a fighter, but when mixed together in one package can spell doom. Why do I say that? Well, if you consider the fact that you know you have a durable chin and bricks for hands, the likelihood that you’re willing to wade through the fire to land one good shot rises exponentially. It’s not a proven science, but all you need to do is to watch the fall of Chuck Liddell and understand how dangerous the combination can be. That said, Patrick Cote has chosen to round out his game as he’s gotten older. Rather than relying on power punches to win fights, Cote now utilizes his jab more often as a range finder as well as with some pop. He also uses his wrestling pretty effectively and will do well to use that tool in this fight. Sure, he could possibly win in a striking battle against Alves if he’s on his game, but why risk that when you can at least make the Brazilian striker hesitant on the feet. If a clean takedown isn’t available then Cote is better off pushing the smaller Alves against the fence and smothering his offense.
On the flip side, Thiago Alves may not be starching opponents as he once did, but he’s managed to keep the dream alive with some competitive performances against Jim Miller and Carlos Condit. Alves isn’t using his kicking game as much as he used to, but when he does, his opponents would do well to get out of dodge at all costs (just ask Jordan Mein). Alves’ game is no longer as aggressive as it once was, choosing rather to wait on counter opportunities more often. The days of flying knees and blindingly fast low kicks seem to be in the past. That said, Alves should be using his longest weapons in this fight. He’s the smaller man in this fight in general size and height. To get inside and rattle off striking combinations he’ll want to blast low kicks into his opponent’s thighs to land damage, take away power from Cote’s punches, and get the bigger man slowing down where Alves can use his superior speed to his advantage. His takedown defense has always been sharp, but if he isn’t mindful he could fall prey to Cote who could use a takedown attempt to push Alves against the cage.
This fight should be a pretty exciting one. I wonder if this is a win or go home kind of match, which is unfortunate as both fighters are still pretty highly skilled.
Who do you think wins at UFC 210?