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MMA Fastball: Thiago Alves a true contender

Here's the next installment of MMA Fastball.

Thiago Alves proves to be a true contender:
Have to admit that I wasn't sold. Before his fight against Matt Hughes, I was sure that Alves would get taken down and pounded on. Didn't happen. Then when I heard he was going to take on Josh Koscheck, well, the same thing came to mind.

Again, didn't happen.

Rather, Alves made both Hughes and Koscheck look small as he sprawled out of takedowns and tore through them on his feet. Sure, the Koscheck fight was more competitive than his match against Hughes, but the bottom line is clear now.

Alves has some of the best kicks in the business and new and improved takedown defense to go along with it. That plus his size and athleticism makes him a tough out for anyone, Georges St. Pierre included. Who, by the way, recently wrote the following regarding him:

"I was very impressed by the performance of Thiago Alves. He showed everybody why he belongs in the top fighters in the welterweight division. Of course, it's up to the UFC, but I think he will be one of my next opponents pretty soon."

So after the UFC Welterweight Champion throws down with B.J. Penn, it appears that someone will be waiting in the wings for his title shot. And this guy has even more size than the current champion.

Goodbye to EliteXC: Well, it was fun while it lasted. The bottom line is that they spent too much money too fast and put way too much stock into an unproven MMA fighter in Kimbo Slice. When he lost, that was likely the last straw.

Still, you have to wonder why so many hardcore MMA fans seemed to want EliteXC to fail. You can understand the frustration with Slice getting main events without proving his worth?even trainer Bas Rutten acknowledged that he hoped Slice would stay out of main events in the immediate future following his loss to Seth Petruzelli?but wanting MMA's first foray into network television to fail seems strange.

What happens to female MMA?: Now that the number one U.S. proponent of female MMA is gone, you've got to wonder where and when we'll the next see Gina Carano fight. Will the UFC finally get involved? It's doubtful until the female talent pool gets bigger. Which leaves us with Strikeforce. Speaking of Strikeforce. . .

Strikeforce continues to make money: We've said this before on MMA Fastball. Still, it seems worth noting once more. As all of the competing organizations fail from overspending, Strikeforce continues to make money. That's an outfit with people that simply know what they're doing.

Start small, people!

Speaking of not starting small:
MMA fans are almost all rooting for Affliction to make it. After all, they were the ones that finally put together a great Fedor fight when he took on Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned. Up next is a showdown between Andrei Arlovski and the current WAMMA Champion.

But you have to wonder if Affliction is starting off too large as well. After all, putting Josh Barnett, Matt Lindland, Andrei Arlovski, Ben Rothwell, Tim Sylvia, and Fedor Emelianenko on your initial card sure is a lot.

Is Anderson Silva mortal after all?:
Make no mistake, there was no question who was winning their UFC 90 showdown before Cote succumbed to a knee injury. But Cote was hardly being dominated. Could Anderson Silva be mortal just like the rest of us?

Nah, Cote just has a great chin. Besides, Silva recently said that he wanted this fight to go into the later rounds.

UFC 91 is just around the corner:
Some fights simply get your juices flowing. Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn is one of them. All of those old Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell fights were of the same ilk. But this Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture fight may have me psyched like no other before.

Lesnar is the bigger and stronger wrestler, which likely means that Couture is going to have to find a different way to win this one than he's used to. This fight will test his well-roundedness like never before, and it's only a few weeks away.

Mo Lawal is a name to remember:
Former Division II National Champion Wrestler Mo Lawal just defeated a guy by the name of Travis Wiuff in his MMA debut. Wiuff is a fighter that's defeated Ricco Rodriguez and Jason Guida in the past with over 65 MMA fights to his credit. What's even more impressive is the fact that Lawal won the contest by knockout.

In other words, he didn't even really use his wrestling. Mo Lawal is a fighter to watch.

Chuck Liddell is a stand up guy: After his loss to Rashad Evans, Chuck Liddell found himself fielding questions regarding longtime trainer John Hackleman instead of himself. Still, he stood up for his friend and trainer as most would've expected him to.

"We had a good game plan," Liddell said in an interview with Sherdog.com, "and I got overzealous. ? [Hackleman] told me before we went out for the second [round]: 'Don't chase him. Just take your time. Make him come to you.' I didn't listen. How are you going to blame him when I'm not listening?"

These days, it's more likely to see people throw those close to them under a bus when things don't go well. Not Liddell. He never blames anybody but himself, which is the true mark of any adult, let alone fighter.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Alistair Overeem rematch is set for December 31:
Cro Cop will get the chance to show the world that his last performance against Overeem was just a bad day. That said, if he doesn't show this than the legend that is Mirko Cro Cop will take a huge hit.

By the way, he has a knee injury that will require surgery after the event.