Fans have been waiting for the octagon return of American Top Team’s Thiago Alves, and that finally came on Saturday evening at UFC on FOX 11 in Orlando, Fla. after two years out of action due to multiple injuries.
Alves was taking on TUF alum Seth Baczynski in a welterweight bout, which served as the co-feature on the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card.
Despite being out of action for so long, Alves’ striking was as crisp as ever. Baczynski was able to hang tough in the early minutes of the round, but multiple leg kicks caused him to noticeably slow down. Baczynski was able to hang tough with Alves throughout the fight, but it was not enough to earn the win on the judges scorecards.
Would ring rust be a factor? We were going to get our answer.
Check out the play-by-play for the fight below and our full coverage of tonight’s action by clicking here.
Round 1: Baczynski was showing plenty of movement early as he looked to avoid Alves’ power and he eventually closed the distance to clinch against the cage. Alves got his back off of the cage and went back to the center of the octagon with Baczynski looking to use his reach advantage on the outside. Alves was able to get inside using his counter striking which immediately caused a cut over Baczynski’s right eye, but Alves had some swelling of his own. Alves began to open up with his striking and was landing some shots, including a flurring of leg kicks that caused Baczynski to slow down his movement. Alves was ripping vicious leg kicks that Baczynski was letting land, which could spell trouble for the later rounds.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Alves
Round 2: Baczynski’s leg was a mess heading in to the second round, and Alves was showing no mercy. Baczynski was able to find a home for his jab, but there wasn’t much behind it and Alves answered with a strong counter right. Alves continued to find a home for his leg kicks, but Baczynski was able to keep coming forward showing his toughness. Baczynski attempted a spinning backfist but failed to land as both men began to open up with powerful shots that left them both bloodied. Alves was leaking from the nose, while Baczynski was opened up on both sides of his face. Baczynski was struggling to stay steady on his left leg and Alves continued to target the area until the end of the round.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Alves (20-18, Alves)
Round 3: Alves continued to pepper away at Baczynski with his versatile striking, but Baczynski eventually shot for a takedown. Baczynski was unsuccessful, which meant he had to go back to the center of the octagon with Alves. Baczynski landed a solid straight punch, but Alves answered back with one of his own. Alves showed no signs of ring rust during the performance, with his timing right where you would expect it to be if he would have been fighting for the past two years. Baczynski tagged Alves with a nice right, but Alves again answered with more punishing shots from the clinch. Baczysnki looked for a takedown with a minute to go, but Alves circled out and continued to pepper away at his opponent with his kicks.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Alves (30-27, Alves)
Result: Thiago Alves def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)