UFC Austin Results: Curtis Millender KOs Thiago Alves in Promotional Debut

Curtis Millender
Curtis Millender Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Promotional newcomer Curtis Millender earned his first UFC win with a second-round knockout of Thiago Alves at UFC Austin.

Although they aren’t far apart in age, there was a huge gap in top-tier experience between Thiago Alves and Curtis Millender heading into UFC Austin. The bout was the 23rd UFC fight for Alves, while Millender made his promotional debut. Experience inside the Octagon is always a plus, but doesn’t always determine the outcome.

At different points in their respective career paths, both fighters came into Austin with the same, obvious goal: continue to win. Welterweight is one of the UFC’s deepest divisions. For Alves, another win secures his spot in MMA’s premier promotion for a while longer. For Millender, it was a chance to finally showcase his skills at the highest level, against one of the sport’s toughest fighters, and extend his own UFC tenure.

Alves was coming off of a win, returning to welterweight in Austin after an unsuccessful one-fight stint at 155-pounds. The 34-year-old Brazilian defeated Patrick Cote via unanimous decision at UFC 210 in his only fight in 2017. Alves made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 2 in October of 2005, and had amassed a 14-8 record in the promotion ever since.

While Millender lacked similar top-tier experience, he had been fighting extremely well of late. He’d won six consecutive fights since 2016, after going 1-3 in 2015. Most recently Millender went 3-0 in Legacy Fighting Alliance, including a win in January of this year. He’s also finished his most recent two opponents via head-kick knockout, making him an easy sell for fans and promoters alike. The 30-year-old Californian had some high-level experience before his UFC debut, going 2-2 in Bellator MMA at various points in his career.

Millender controlled the center of the Octagon in an uneventful opening few minutes of the fight. Millender landed the first significant strikes of the bout, stunning Alves with around two minutes remaining. The promotional newcomer continued to control the center of the Octagon, and then dropped Alves with a right hand. Millender swarmed on the Brazilian, landing from the ground before stalking the rocked veteran throughout the final minute of the bout. Alves landed a takedown as the round eneded, but was down heading into round two.

The patient striking continued in the second round. Neither fighter was able to take the advantage early in the second stanza, and Millender looked comfortable against the UFC veteran. Millender’s range seemed to be giving the UFC rookie the advantage, as Alves’ pressure failed to produce much damage. Millender than landed a left knee square on Alves’ chin with under a minute remaining in the second round, dropping Alves for good. The referee took a second, but eventually stepped-in and stopped the fight as Alves laid on the ground in a daze.

Another tough contender has been tossed into the bunch of talent at 170-pounds in the UFC. Millender proved his worth by defeating the technically-talented Alves decisively, and earned himself another marquee name in his next welterweight bout.

Curtis Millender def. Thiago Alves via KO (knee), Round 2, 4:17