More than once, veteran Thiago Alves had trouble making weight during his lengthy run at lightweight. So when he missed weight by more than five pounds for his 155-pound debut against Jim Miller, skepticism about his move down in weight class seemed justified.
But Miller's a class act, who not only wouldn't hold it against Alves, but he actually gained weight in order to keep their weight range within the acceptable range for the New York State Athletic Commission.
And Miller was rewarded for his professionalism on Saturday night. The cagey vet from Sparta, N.J., fought a smart fight and took a unanimous decision from Alves in the feature Fight Pass bout at UFC 205. The judges' scores at New York's Madison Square Garden were a pair of 30-27s and a 29-28.
Because the bout was contested at a catchweight 162.6 pounds, Miller was deprived of what would have counted as a record 17th UFC lightweight victory, but as is, it was his third straight victory.
"I've been working a lot, I had a bit of a hiccup at the beginning of 2015," said Miller (28-8, 1 NC). "I've been in the gym training six days a week for eight, nine months now, and I feel like I'm back the way I was 2008, 2009, 2010."
The tone for the bout was set early in the first round, when Miller ate a solid Alves head kick, but Miller rolled with it and turned it into a takedown. Alves had the best moments in the fight when he landed solid strikes to the head and body, but Miller responded every time by closing the distance and taking Alves down.
Alves had a solid flurry to start the final round, but soon tired, and Miller took over the rest of the way.
"It happens, guys have bad cuts," Miller said. I just wanted to step into the cage with Thiago, he's a legend of the sport."
Alves dropped to 21-11 and has lost two in a row.