this August 8, 2015 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Match Up
Middleweight Derek Brunson 13-3 vs. Sam Alvey 26-6
Middleweight Derek Brunson -420 vs. Sam Alvey +335
3 Things You Should Know
1. Derek Brunson is the kind of journeyman who fights well above his status. Underestimate him at your peril.
After losing to Kendell Grove in 2012, it was hard to envision a universe that allowed Brunson to matriculate into the octagon, and maintain his enrollment. Wtih a 4-1 UFC record, it's quite clear that he's here to stay. He's proven to be more than the sum of his awful Chris Leben bout. And he looked quite good in defeat against Yoel Romero. This is a pretty good fight for him too, though tougher than the odds make it look.
2. 'Smile'm' Sam Alvey has won over everyone with his post fight interview charm. The question now is whether or not he can charm the middleweight rankings with wins.
Alvey is a lot like Brunson; a fighter who had the aroma of a journeyman, but not necessarily the essence.
There's nothing special about his game, per se, but there is something special about his demeanor. He's 3-0 in his last three, with his only loss to Tom Watson. This is easily his toughest fight to date, however.
3. As much as you may enjoy that infectious smile above, don't expect to see it much during the Derek Brunson vs. Sam Alvey fight.
Alvey doesn't really have that many tools, fight wise. He makes good use of his southpaw stance. With a strong straight left, and chopping right hook, there's a strong equality within his striking that stands out in a way it doesn't for other southpaws. It helps that he's willing to take a few to give a few. Being durable is a fine quality for a fighter like Alvey, who needs all the chances a fifteen minute fight can provide him.
However, Brunson is just a bad matchup for him. It's easy to forget, if like me, you can't shake that horrid Leben fight from your memory, that he actually did pretty good against Romero, even rocking him hard with a brutal head kick at one point.
While he's a solid wrestler, which his resume at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke emphasizes, he doesn't integrate it into his game as well as you'd like to see. But it's effective in subtle ways. Brunson is a solid example a fighter with a strong wrestling background who uses his fundamentals to compliment his mixed martial arts rather than try to shoehorn the entirety of his wrestling fundamentals into a cage fight.
He has solid power in his hands in addition, so expect this bout to be contested, but for Brunson to comfortably pull ahead after three rounds.
Brunson by Decision.