UFC Vegas 35 is on the horizon as eighteen athletes prepare to make the walk to the UFC Apex on August 28th. The Apex in Las Vegas has been the hotbed for fights while we push through the back end of COVID-19, and on August 28th, nothing changes.
Headlining the thrilling card on the night will be Brazilian sensation Edson Barboza and Georgian challenger Giga Chikazde. A potential fight of the night candidate from two of the sport’s deadliest strikers. UFC Vegas 35 will also welcome the return of former lightweight contender Kevin Lee as he finds a replacement in Daniel Rodriguez, following Sean Brady’s withdrawal. Overall we can expect fireworks on August 28th, with many fighters coming out with a point to prove.
One man who will be coming out with a point of his own to prove is Smiling Sam Alvey. Alvey has failed to pick up a victory in his last six outings. However, he has earned the fan’s respect with his will to stand and bang and never quit. I had the utmost pleasure to catch up with Alvey before he enters on the octagon to face Brazil’s, Wellington Turman.
Sam “Smilin” Alvey
Sam Alvey (33-15-1) makes his twenty-second walk to the UFC octagon when he meets Wellington Turman at UFC Vegas 35 after his original opponent Roman Kopylov withdrew from their scheduled clash on July 31st to visa issues. Alvey is facing the most challenging run of form of his veteran-like career thus far. The thirty-five-year-old has failed to leave the octagon victorious since his victory over Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night 131 in 2018.
Since then, Alvey has always looked for the most demanding competition and faced the athletes on the rise or inform. He has, unfortunately, falling short to names such as Nogueria, Crute, Abreu, and Spann. The recent results don’t do the American any justice, considering he’s been performing well, putting on exciting fights, but dropping split decisions along the way, as well as a draw at UFC 254 with Da Un Jung. More recently losing to Julian Marquez at UFC Vegas 23.
Don’t be fooled by the recent setbacks. Alvey still offers a 58% knockout ratio heading into August 28th, and with the current run of losses, I believe this makes him as dangerous as ever.
Wellington “The Prodigy” Turman
Wellington Turman (16-5) arrived on the scene after attaining impressive victories on the Brazilian circuit, which led to catching the UFC’s interest. Turman made his official UFC debut in 2019, suffering a split decision loss to England’s Karl Roberson. Then followed the tough defeat up four months later with a convincing unanimous victory over Markus Perez.
Turman showcased a glimpse of what he’s truly capable of. However, the Curitiba-born has failed to pick up any consistency in his performances. The Prodigy’s last two outings have seen him finished in the first round by Andrew Sanchez and Bruno Silva. With that being said, I do believe this makes Turman an even a dangerous individual on the night.
Two men in Wellington Turman and Sam Alvey desperately seeking a victory make for an excellent competitive fight.
Interview with Sam Alvey
Good Afternoon, Sam. First and foremost, I want to ask you how you’re doing, how’s the body, your weight, and how are you feeling mentally?
Sam Alvey – “I am feeling wonderful at the moment. My weight cut will be easy and knock on wood, but I have no injuries.”
You were initially scheduled to face Roman Kopylov last month. However, the fight fell through due to visa issues. Talk to me about the prolonged time in camp preparing then. Were you frustrated at all having to wait to get in there after prepping, or are you used to it at this stage of your career? Potentially you may have relished the extra time to sharpen up?
Sam Alvey – “Yeah, I am truly tired of being in camp at this point. I was on prime form a month ago and this extra month is just drawing out the eventual ass whooping I’m destined to give.”
People constantly label you as the nicest guy on the roster, competing with Wonderboy. As a man who’s always so happy and doesn’t indulge in trash talk. I would love to hear your opinion on the recent McGregor vs Poirier II post-fight shenanigans, as I don’t think anybody’s heard your views. Do you think it was out of line, or even as the nice guy, do you accept that’s the sport?
Sam Alvey – “I love trash talking. It sells fight, as Conor has proven. If I were better at it or not, just a nice guy, I would do the same thing. Conor has just mastered it.”
How have your perceptions of yourself changed throughout your career, and how does that motivate you?
Sam Alvey – “My perception of myself has stayed pretty consistent. I’m a family man and God-loving man and, above all else, is a strong patriotic American. I enjoy fighting as much now as I ever have.”
With the quick re-scheduling, you now meet Brazillian Wellington Turman, who has failed to pick up any real momentum since joining the UFC. What’re your thoughts on this matchup overall, and what type of battle are you expecting from Turman?
Sam Alvey – “Wellington has had many impressive rounds in his UFC career, and I know he’s got the talent to go far, but I won’t let him get past me.”
Turman is currently coming off two consecutive first-round losses. Is the potential lack of confidence something you’re hoping to capitalize on, on fight night? Some people might say I’m silly, looking at your last outings, but I think it’s completely different. You’ve been bringing the heat, putting on wars for the fans, and being on the wrong end of tough decisions. You’ve also been around long enough to know how to deal with these setbacks.
Sam Alvey – “My last handful of fights have not gone according to plan, but as everyone could testify, I have shown up and given some outstanding performances. Wellington is coming off too bad losses, but they were also very entertaining fights. I’m expecting a great match where I get a big and needed win.”
On the topic of your last outings, do you feel any pressure going into this fight with no win in your previous six, especially with Dana cutting fighters regular? They can’t cut Smilling Sam Alvey, right? I think you’re the type of guy who takes it in his stride. I think the results of your previous couple don’t do justice to how you’ve performed in there. You definitely belong here.
Sam Alvey – “My job is performance-based. As much as they might love me as a fighter and a fan favorite, I need to show up for my job. They can cut me if I fail again, which is a Lotta inspiration not to fail.”
Your recent run of form, what do you personally think going wrong and want to you accumulate that too? Is it the fact you are willing to jump in there with straight-up killers on the end of tough decisions? What do you feel?
Sam Alvey – “Looking at my last three fights, I have thought three guys that were strongly expected to win. And I outshined most of them. I need to get it to put together and impress the judges or, better yet, not let it go to them.”
With limited time to prepare for Wellington, have you and your team watched tape? Is that something you guys do during camp? I know some athletes do. Some don’t. If so, where do you feel the keys to beating Wellington are?
Sam Alvey – “I love watching tape on my opponents. I just like watching him fight. He’s had some exciting fights, so watching his fights has been a lot of fun.”
Lastly, can we get an official fight prediction from you, and if victorious and uninjured, are you looking to compete again by the end of the year?
Sam Alvey – “My official fight prediction is that I win in dominant fashion.”
Featured Image Credits to Getty Images