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UFC 124 Results: Thiago Alves Dominates John Howard

Thiago Alves had his most impressive performance in the Octagon in years on Saturday night, putting on a striking clinic in dominating the overmatched John Howard to win the first fight on the UFC 124 pay-per-view card.

Alves hadn't won a fight since October of 2008, when he beat Josh Koscheck at UFC 90, but he's back in a big way now, and he showed in beating Howard that he's one of the Top 5 welterweights in all of mixed martial arts. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Alves, and none of the rounds were close.

"I'm really, really happy," Alves said afterward. "I worked really, really hard to get here today."

Alves landed a nice right hand, stuffed a takedown attempt from Howard and then landed a big leg kick before throwing Howard to the ground. They didn't stay on the ground for long, though, and Alves wanted to keep the fight standing, where he battered Howard with punches, leg kicks and knees. It was a very good stand-up battle in the first round, and one that Alves clearly won.

A couple of minutes into the second round, Alves had landed so many kicks to Howard's lead leg that Howard was beginning to stumble and limp, and it prevented him from stepping into his punches. Midway through the round, Alves surprised Howard by shooting for a takedown, putting Howard flat on his back. The fight stayed on the ground the rest of the round, with Alves staying in the dominant position and easily leading 20-18 through two rounds.

In the third round the pace slowed down, and Howard wasn't nearly as aggressive as a fighter who's down two rounds to none should be. Alves tagged Howard with a huge right hand two minutes into the third round, knocking Howard down. There was a great flurry at the end of the fight, but Howard simply didn't do enough in the third round, and Alves dominated.

The win improves Alves' record to 17-7, including 10-4 in the UFC. Howard falls to 14-6.

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