This has the potential to be another GSP/Serra. It has the highest possibility of being the upset of the night. I have decided to give you guys the way I believe the fight will play out...
I keep going back and forth between the two, but I believe in Alves alot more than I do GSP. Right now GSP is the heavy favorite, and polls are looking like they did before he got knocked out by Serra. After watching interviews, press conference, etc. Alves also seems to be alot more serious about this than GSP.
Alot of people give GSP more credit than deserved for his wrestling ability. Alves wasn't taken down by Hughes or Koscheck, and they are no joke when it comes to wrestling ability. Sure, GSP has great wrestling ability, but I don't believe it is better than Hughes. Hear me out on this, whenever GSP has gone for a takedown his opponent has been off balance and/or coming off of an attack. When he can't do that, he goes to the clinch to work the takedown from there. As far as doubles and singles go, GSP is no top tier wrestler.
As far as Alves, he has without a doubt been working on his takedown defense and always throws something when someone gets anywhere close to him. Watch his fight with Koscheck, he is great at stopping takedowns against the cage. But let's get to the fight... The key to victory for Alves here is...
Leg kicks. Yep, in round one leg kicks will soften GSP up and he will lose his ability to use his takedowns at will. Alves will give him the first round and will feel him out, throwing the occasional leg kick, while GSP attemps to take him down and uses up more of his gas tank than he should. GSP will probably catch a leg kick or go after Alves after he throws a kick and will take him down, but Alves will stay patient and get right back up, or just let him use his energy.
Second round, Alves will come out with a good pace, picking his shots and throwing combo's when GSP gets close and attemps to clinch, etc. chances are GSP will go for the clinch because going for a takedown is out of the question, GSP simply will not win the clinch game against the cage, Alves will out muscle him 9 out of 10 times.
Third round, GSP comes out and simply gets impatient. He makes a dumb mistake, shoots in or goes for a clinch, Alves catches him with a knee or an uppercut, dropping him, and then goes in for the kill and a KO/TKO victory.
New UFC Welterweight champion, Thiago Alves.
... But that's just me, if you are a GSP supporter, I believe his keys to success are staying patient and weathering the early storm, waiting on Thiago's gas tank to start giving out, opening things up for him late in the fight. I know that Thiago won't give up easily, which is why I think that if GSP does win the fight, it will be by UD. If not that, he will catch Alves in a surprise Sub sometime in the fourth or fifth.
War Alves though, damnit. Don't give in to the favorite, don't play it safe, MMA is an unpredictable sport, and the majority have been proven wrong somewhere in every event.