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Following in the Footsteps of Donald Cerrone and Neil Magny, Sam Alvey Takes His Fourth Fight in Five Months

Fightland Blog

By Tom Taylor

Photo by Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

For all their skill and dominance, fighters like Cain Velasquez, Chris Weidman and Dominick Cruz often find themselves on the receiving end of some fairly venomous fan criticism. The reason for that criticism is pretty easy to identify: these fighters simply have a hard time staying healthy, and as such, spend long stretches on the bench, often holding up entire divisions as a result.

Velasquez, to remind, spent nearly two years on the injury list after his 2013 defeat of Junior Dos Santos, slowing the progress of the heavyweight division he ruled at the time, and forcing the UFC to crown an interim champion in his stead. Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman has had a similarly difficult time staying in fighting shape. It has, after all, been nearly a year since we last saw him in action. And then there’s Dominick Cruz, the most dominant bantamweight in the history of the sport, and also one of the most injury prone fighters ever. He infamously spent three years on the shelf after 2011 defeat of Demetrious Johnson, and was stripped of the bantamweight title as a result.

In a sport that is so frequently held up by athlete injuries, it should come as no surprise that fans have a real soft spot for fighters who are able to stay active.

Perhaps no fighter is better known for their busy schedule than lightweight-turned-welterweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who famously fought six times between April 2014 and May 2015. Welterweight contender Neil Magny is also known for his frequent activity, having fought seven times between February 2014 and May 2015.

Middling middleweight Sam Alvey (28-8) has never really been admired for his busy schedule, but that’s likely to change, as he recently signed on for his fourth fight in five months.

The first of this rapid-fire, four-fight run saw Alvey take on Canada’s Elias Theodorou in a fairly forgettable fight in Ottawa on June 18th. Though Alvey would lose that fight, he would quickly rebound with a defeat of Eric Spicely, less than one month later on July 13th. A little over a month after that, on August 27th, Alvey would take his third fight of the summer, scoring a second-round TKO over grappling specialist Kevin Casey on the undercard of UFC on Fox 21. And now, the 30-year-old middleweight has been pencilled in for a date with 26-year-old Floridian Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson (7-2). The two will meet in Manila on October 15th.

In Nicholson, Alvey will take on a game fighter who has gone 1-1 across his first 2 UFC bouts, tapping to a Misha Cirkunov neck-crank in his first fight, and rebounding in his second with a first-round knockout of the debuting Devin Clark.

As of now, no odds have been released for this fight. When they are released, however, Alvey’s big-stage experience will likely render him the betting favorite. Of course, there’s a chance he will lose, but perhaps the biggest benefit of being a busy fighter is that losses start to matter a little bit less.

Fans are willing to forgive active fighters for losses, ‘cause how the hell can we fault them for losing when they fought three weeks ago? The UFC, meanwhile, lets active fighters off the hook for losses because they can be counted to step up when another fighter gets injured. In essence, then, maintaining a busy schedule is almost an insurance plan for a fighter; a way to soften the impact of the losses that they all inevitably experience from time to time. And then, of course, there are the fiscal benefits of frequent activity: more fights, more paydays.

Like Cowboy and Magny, Sam Alvey seems to have clued into these things, and he deserves props from the fans and the UFC for his willingness to get in there in fight as often as he can. In a sport that is so frequently rocked by card-altering injuries, we need all the Cowboys, Magnys and Alveys we can get. 

 

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