Before the main card kicks off this Saturday, two men in dire need of victory will face off in a dramatic match-up on the prelims. “Smiling” Sam Alvey, long-time MMA veteran and fan-favorite will look to turn back the clock against young talent Wellington Turman of Brazil.
With 50 fights behind him, Sam Alvey made a name for himself with a smile on his face and knockout power in his hands. By mid-2018 Alvey had amassed a UFC record of 10-5 but throughout it, all always promised excitement win or lose. However following this he would step foot in the octagon six more times without securing a victory, although going to a draw and a controversial decision. At 35 years old, Alvey may be on the tail end of his career but will look to recapture the feeling of finding a highlight KO this weekend.
His opponent, Wellington Turman is just 25, with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and wealth of athleticism. Entering the promotion in 2019 with a record of 15-2, the young prospect looked promising. However, like Alvey, Turman seems to have fallen on hard times in his last few fights going just 1-3 in the UFC so far. While this number may not reflect his performances where he has shown an ability to push the action and win until getting caught, he absolutely needs a win if he wants to ramp up momentum in his young UFC career. The question remains if he can do so Saturday night.
Alvey vs. Turman betting odds
In a pick’em fight both fighters will come into the bout at minus odds.
Alvey vs. Turman Breakdown
Early in Sam Alvey’s career, he established a winning formula for himself. He likes to lay back on the perimeter of the octagon, circle, and bide his time. He will poke out jabs and leg kicks in order to draw out his opponent’s movement and attempt to counter or meet them on the entrance with short boxing combinations. Although Alvey isn’t the fastest or most athletic, the pop in his punches especially in close quarters is evident. In Particular, he has a sharp right hook.
Between these exchanges, feeling the right opportunity, Alvey will also explode forward on a straight line. Although he comes in on a basic angle, his punches themselves show better diversity, shovel hooks, as well as slick uppercuts and straights, make up a tricky burst that can catch his opponents off guard. The unpredictability of his boxing angles is accentuated when he throws from relatively low to his chest, the caveat being this also takes his hands further from his chin when he needs to defend.
When he does find his opponents hurt, he will readily invite them to clinch because his dirty clinch striking style is one of the best. Between short uppercuts akin to a hockey fight, and knees, Alvey is extremely comfortable in gritty clinch battles.
The problem with this style overall is that after 50 fights, Alvey very rarely strays from this strategy, allowing for the latest generation of fighters to have figured out what to look for and what to avoid. Most recently the ability to work long and not engage in Alvey’s short-range has led to difficult fights for him, as well as a disciplined and cautious approach.
Wellington Turman will have to go against his instincts in order to accomplish this. The young fighter has in the past been content to trade with those opposite him. He has good solid striking fundamentals and the speed and power to back them but often walks forward somewhat carelessly. Against better strikers than he, he holds his own but has neglected to reset and reassess when he does not get the better of the exchanges, preferring to pour on the pressure even if it means taking damage himself.
That being said, he has the speed and smoothness to potentially beat Alvey to the punch if he can stay composed. His biggest strength is in the grappling department, where he has a chain wrestling sort of approach to his great Jiu Jitsu game. He will seamlessly blend in between tangling clinch positions in order to drag his opponent down or look for high-impact takedowns. Even if he cannot secure the position on the mat, he easily floats and maintains the back or hooks somewhere to give his opponents no breathing room.
The biggest issue in Turman’s style as a whole is that there seems to be a separation between his striking and grappling instincts, when finding himself in a striking battle he won’t necessarily look to mix in takedowns, but engage in a kickboxing fight. When he chooses to grapple, it may be a naked takedown attempt but he will commit fully to the grappling, neglecting to mix in clinch strikes while advancing position. Where this is more detrimental is when playing guard off his back, he will be very dynamic, look for sweeps or submissions but won’t always protect himself from incoming strikes, leaving himself exposed.
Alvey vs. Turman Prediction
Turman has the ability to come out on top. If he has done his homework on Alvey and can stick to a patient and disciplined approach he can pick his shot and beat Alvey to the punch before taking it to the mat.
However with his back against the wall, and a history for fighting emotionally I think Turman plays right into Alvey’s signature game plan. At some point in the fight, Turman will become careless and fail to defend himself in an entrance, and begin losing momentum against Alvey after taking some damage.
Prediction: Sam Alvey wins via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.