Opening up the UFC Moscow main card was a battle between undefeated prospect Alexey Kunchenko, and former title challenger Thiago Alves. Could Kunchenko, 18-0 entering the night, maintain his perfect record?
Thiago Alves entered UFC Fight Night 136 as a former welterweight title challenger who held wins over the likes of Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, and Karo Parisyan. However, leaving the prime of his career, he’d taken on the considerable challenge of welcoming new fighters to the UFC. His task at UFC Moscow was to meet former M1-Global champion Alexey Kunchenko, who was making his octagon debut. Undefeated through 18 fights, a win over Kunchenko could boost Alves back into some key fights.
That wasn’t to be, however. Alves vs. Kunchenko was a fight that didn’t feature much throughout the first two rounds — with the exception of some nice leg and body kicks by both fighters. The Russian fans were unsurprisingly vocal about the lack of action early. Going into the third round it was really anyone’s fight, however in the third Alexey Kunchenko showed his skill and showed why he has lots of potential in the UFC. He turned up the pace, keeping Alves on his heels.
Finishing strong, with about 90 seconds left in the third round Kunchenko threw Alves down and scored an important takedown. The third round seemed to be the most clear round of the fight, thanks to Kunchenko’s pressure and takedowns. It certainly felt like the round secured the bout for the Russian fight.
Not the most entertaining fight to start the card off, but it’ll be interesting to see where Kunchenko goes from here in a crowded welterweight division. The victorious fighter went so far as to admit in his post-fight interview that the action was on the dull side, but noted (via translator) that he did what he needed to do to secure the win over an experienced veteran in Thiago Alves.
Alexey Kunchenko def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)