How do you say anything bad about the fight?
I'm sure even your most casual fan could tell that Alves was getting the better if Howard for all three rounds, as he not only was able to land those two takedowns -- which I may easily recall seeing in a few of Matt Hughes' fights but never in any of Alves' past few fights -- but he also got the more effective shots off in the fight, especially the two knees in the clinch in the first round and the knockdown in the third round.
All in all, this fight was a war, and I would dare to say a little along one particular line of Griffin-Bonnar 1 in that the action showed something of a clear cut winner, but the fight was so exciting all throughout that you could have actually thought in your right mind that the fight might go to a split decision.
There was a definite winner, and Thiago Alves was that man.
So who makes sense for him now?
BJ Penn, if he can beat Jon Fitch at UFC 127, comes to mind, as well as Mike Pierce if Alves still wants him or even Dan Hardy if the Pitbull wants to crack open a striker.
As for Howard, he'll need a trip to the drawing board just to hone up his striking before we can give him too many shots at the top of the ladder, but I say let him get his Muay Thai up to another level and then consider him next for the winner or loser of Sanchez-Kampmann at the next Versus card or Paulo Thiago.