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Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli targeted for UFC 237

A Brazilian fan favorite, who has been on the UFC roster since 2005, will look to go 2-0 in his homeland in 2019.

MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz has learned that Thiago Alves and Laureano Staropoli are set to meet at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro on May 11, according to multiple sources.

The 35-year-old Alves (23-13) returned to his hometown on Feb. 2 and defeated Max Griffin on a tight split decision at UFC Fortaleza. That bout snapped a two-fight losing streak and put him at 4-4 in his last eight bouts.

Now, Alves returns to Brazil to fight Argentina’s Staropoli (8-1). The fighter nicknamed “Pepe” had a victorious UFC debut on Nov. 17, as he earned a unanimous decision over Hector Aldana in Staropoli’s hometown of Buenos Aires. That marked six straight wins for Staropoli and was also the first time he ever went the distance in a fight, win or lose.

Announced bouts for the card include strawweight champion Rose Namajunas’s title defense against Jessica Andrade and Anderson Silva vs. Jared Cannonier.