Thiago Alves May Face Ricardo Almeida At UFC 111After injuries forced both out of recent bouts, welterweights Thiago “Pitbull” Alves and Ricardo “Big Dog” Almeida are set to square off at UFC 111 in Newark, New Jersey. The fight will mark Alves’s first since his lopsided defeat against Georges “Rush” St. Pierre at UFC 100, while Almeida will compete for the first time at 170 pounds.

Almeida was originally set to face Jon Fitch at UFC 106, but was forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury. Alves, Almeida’s replacement against Fitch, also withdrew after injuring his knee as well.

Alves (16-6-0) won seven straight fights after losing to Fitch in June of 2006, but was soundly defeated in a five-round title bout with St. Pierre on the historic UFC 100 card. Known for his heavy hands and devastating knees, Alves holds wins over former champion Matt Hughes and current top contender Josh Koscheck.

Thought to be the toughest challenger for St. Pierre’s crown, Alves was taken down repeatedly and was unable to mount much of any offence against the Canadian. Now looking to get back into title contention, the explosive Alves finds himself in a logjam in the division, where St. Pierre’s dominant reign suggests that he will not relinquish his championship belt anytime soon.

Almeida (11-3-0), who has competed in the middleweight division for his entire career, retired from the sport in 2004 as one of the sport’s premier fighters at 185 pounds. With wins over Kazuo Misaki, Nate “The Great” Marquardt and Ryo Chonan, most regarded Almeida as the top middleweight in MMA at the time.

Returning to mixed martial arts at UFC 81 in February 2008 with an extremely impressive submission win over Rob “The Monster” Yundt, Almeida has now won two of his three fights since then and will look for new challenges in the stacked welterweight division. In Alves, he will face a very tough test in his 170-pound debut.

UFC 111 is set to take place on March 27, 2010 at the Prudential Center in Newark, Jersey. The event is headlined by a UFC Welterweight Championship bout between St. Pierre and Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy.