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Get To Know – Joel “EL FENOMENO”Alvarez

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Our 4th article of the “Get To Know” series is 27-year-old Spaniard Joel ‘El Fenomeno” Alvarez.

Born in Gijón, Asturias, Spain, Joe Alvarez holds his home nation close to his heart and represents his nation with pride. It’s not often we see hot talent emerge from Spain. However, Joel assures me the rise of Spanish fighters is coming.

Joel Alvarez (16-2) made his professional debut in 2013, picking up wins from all over the Spanish and Portuguese regional scene. After conquering the regional scene, Alvarez has then gone on to compete in Scotland, Russia, and Switzerland. Being considered Spain’s hot next prospect with quick consistent finish wins, it wouldn’t be long until Alvarez caught the interest of the major organisations.

‘El Fenomeno’ is considered a submission specialist when it comes to hitting the mat. With 14 from 16 wins coming via submission giving Alvarez an impressive 88% submission rate.

After the hard grind of 10 bouts without tasting defeat, Alvarez caught the attention of the UFC. He made his debut on Feb 23, 2019, in Prague, Czech Republic, where he took on Damir Ismagulov. However, he, unfortunately, dropped a unanimous decision in a tough contest. Four months later, the Spanish native was back in the octagon ready to right the wrong in the sold-out Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. He was taking on a dangerous opponent in Danilo Belluardo, Alvarez bagged a second-round stoppage via ground and pound and proved this is where he belongs.

Interview

How did you get into fighting and is there a reason why you went down this career path?

Alvarez – “I have loved fighting since I was a child, so when I tried MMA, I fell in love with this sport.”

How would you describe the martial art circuit in Spain, do you think we will see a lot of talent produced from Spain in the upcoming years?

Alvarez – “In Spain, the MMA is going up a lot. I think that in a short time we will see Spanish fighters in the big leagues.”

What does Joel like to do when he’s not training? Do you have any hobbies outside of the sport?

Alvarez – “I like spending time with my girlfriend and with my friends. About making plans to go eat.”

If you never had found MMA and chases the dream, where do you think you’d be sat now?

Alvarez – “Like most, I think now I would surely be working in construction”.

 What’s your favourite martial art and why? Do you like the striking aspect of the game or the grappling?

Alvarez – “I like grappling, it seems to be the most complete fight that exists, I feel very comfortable in striking, but if you look at my record I have 14 submissions under my belt.”

Have you got any fighters who have inspired you on this journey, past or present and how have they had an effect on you?

Alvarez – “Of course, tall and far-reaching fighters have always inspired me, as I am.”

You see a lot of European fighters move to America to train, change coaches and move camps completely. Is this something that’s never interested you?

Alvarez – “If I am interested in doing it, rather in Thailand, here in Spain I also train at a high level, but it takes harder sparring.”

What does it mean to you to be fighting under the biggest organisation in the world in your craft?

Alvarez – “I am fulfilling a dream and I am passionate about facing the best fighters in the world”.

5 years from now, what position do you want to be in, what’s the end goal for you. Where you can sit back retire and be happy with what you’ve achieved?

Alvarez – “In 5 years I will be 32, I will continue fighting anywhere, I hope to do my retirement here in Gijón, at home.”

Big thanks to Joel Alvarez on spending some time doing this. Joel’s English is limited so it’s very appreciated. Go show your support for Joel and see how his career unfolds inside the octagon.


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