The UFC is set to make its second appearance on ABC within the last 4 months. After a previous 3-year hiatus from network TV, the promotion brings UFC Vegas 23. Back in January, when the promotion first broadcasted on ABC, the viewership peaked at 1.6 million concurrent viewers. UFC Vegas 23’s intent is to duplicate those numbers with a stacked card from top to bottom, headlined by Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland
Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland finds himself in a familiar setting, stepping in on short notice following his recent unanimous decision loss to #4 ranked middleweight Derek Brunson less than 3 weeks ago. Darren Till was initially scheduled in the main event slot before it was reported he was forced out due to a fractured collarbone.
Holland will be locked in the octagon with a very game Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori who is currently ranked #6th in the middleweight division and hasn’t lost since dropping a split decision to the champion Israel Adesanya back in 2018.
Sam “Smilin” Alvey
On the main card will be a matchup between Sam Alvey and Julian Marquez. Since defeating Gian Villante via split decision back in June of 2018, Alvey is now searching for his first win in his last 5 going with a record of 0-4-1.
Sam Alvey 33-14-1(1) is scheduled to make his 50th professional MMA appearance once he steps into the octagon on Saturday night.
“Smilin” has been fighting for the UFC since they signed him back in 2014 after defeating Gerald Meerschaert in NAFC. Alvey went 8-5 in his first 3 years in the promotion beating the likes of Cezar Ferreira, Nate Marquardt, and Rashad Evans. He has since had trouble finding the win column going 2-4-1 since 2018.
It is very likely anything but a win could mean the end of Sam Alvey’s UFC career. However, this move back down to middleweight could be exactly what he needs to kick start a late run in a division he is currently 8-4 in.
Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez
On the other side of the octagon, Julian Marquez (8-2) is coming off a performance of the night bonus victory. After being down on the scorecards, Marquez subbed Maki Pitolo late in the third round with an anaconda choke. The Cuban Missle Crisis stepped in on late notice replacing his teammate Zak Cummings and is looking to double his current win streak.
Marquez was picked up by the UFC after a vicious head-kick knockout over Phil Hawes on Dana White’s contender series back in 2017. 4 months later, Marquez made his UFC debut versus Darren Stewart and finished it in the second round via guillotine choke. Marquez suffered his first UFC defeat in July of 2018, losing a close split decision to Alessio Di Chirico, and pouring salt into the wound, he also suffered a fully torn latissimus dorsi that kept him out of competition for over 2 years.
After Marquez’s most recent victory at UFC 258, he went on the mic and infamously asked Miley Cyrus to be his valentine.
Alvey vs Marquez Fight Preview and Breakdown
It seems fair to say the middleweight division will be on showcase this weekend at UFC Vegas 23 with 3 of 5 fights on the main card taking place in the aforementioned weight category.
The first one taking place between Sam Alvey and Julian Marquez. Alvey has a ton of experience inside the octagon as he is set to make his 21st walk to the cage since signing with the promotion back in 2014. Even though that’s 18 times more than the Kansas City native has made the walk, Marquez will still be confident in any facet this fight takes place.
I’m anticipating mostly a kickboxing battle between the two. Where I think Julian Marquez can win this fight is getting inside Alvey’s range and grabbing ahold of him against the cage using his trips as he did in his last bout vs Pitolo. The dirtier the fight gets the better for Marquez. Alvey seems to have the advantage in striking in terms of technical ability, whereas if Marquez can impose his pressure and physicality on “Smilin” Sam, the veteran will be in for a long night.
As for Alvey, the blueprint has seemed to be made in terms of how to get the best of the California native. Getting pressed back, up against the cage is where Alvey is unable to do his best work jabbing your face off at range. “Smilin” is also a notoriously slow starter, and on Saturday will have to take the center of the octagon for himself if he has any intentions of fighting for the UFC in the future.
Alvey vs Marquez prediction: Julian Marquez via TKO
Follow me on Twitter and at @hbroomfieldnews for all my latest work. Please give us a follow on our social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay in tune with our content! Also, please visit our web page for all the latest MMA news!