Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch to determine next welterweight title contender

At the pre-fight press conference for UFC 117 Dana White announced that the winner of Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch would become the new number one contender in the welterweight division, facing the winner of December’s world title fight between The Ultimate Fighter 12 coaches George St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck.

This announcement is slightly surprising as both have already lost to World Champion George St. Pierre in one-sided maulings and have done nothing to persuade fans that a rematch would be different. Thiago Alves has not fought since losing to St. Pierre at UFC 100, while Jon Fitch has failed to fully impress in his four victories since losing to the Candidan at UFC 87. Many had expected the UFC to instead look to Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann as a final contender eliminator fight with either man likely to become a new, credible contender at 170Ibs should they emerge victorious in October. This would be especially true of Shields, with the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion currently in the middle of a fourteen fight winning streak.

With Jon Fitch there is also the complicating factor of his relationship with challenger Josh Koscheck, with Fitch having previously said that he will move up to middleweight should his American Kickboxing Academy colleague defeat St. Pierre.When asked at today’s press conference whether he would fight Koscheck, Fitch was non-committal but White was adamant that should both fighters win that they would fight.

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