Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight up-and-comers Derek Brunson and Sam Alvey went to war last night (Aug. 8, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 73 inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Since joining UFC, Brunson quietly won four of his five fights. Brunson looked to be entering his prime, and he needed to defeat Alvey in order to continue moving up the ranks.
While Alvey lost his UFC debut, he since strung together three straight knockout victories. Alvey was looking to make it four in a row, which would be enough momentum to propel him into the Top 15.
Instead, it's back to the drawing board.
Brunson worked his way into the clinch quickly and landed some hard close range punches to start the bout. A few moments later, Brunson smashed his opponent with more dirty boxing, and Alvey desperately tried to create some space.
Ignoring the threat of his opponent's counter punches, Brunson ran his opponent down with straight punches. Pinned against the fence, Alvey could do little except absorb punches, and his knees soon gave out.
Though Alvey dropped down to his knees, he was still defending himself fairly well. Despite having his hands up and still moving, the referee had seen enough and called the fight. To me, it seems like an early stoppage, but Brunson was teeing off on him and didn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Regardless of the stoppage, Brunson put on a show. He aggressively -- if not recklessly -- pushed forward and threw plenty of punches despite the threat of the counter. While it worked out in a big way in this fight and will certainly push him up the rankings a bit, that could definitely get him hurt as he moves up into the elite.
Still, Brunson's improvement on his feet cannot be discounted. Early in his Strikeforce career, he was a wrestler with little in terms of kickboxing or submission. Now, he's knocked out two opponents in a row within the first round, and he's earned the high profile match up that he'll surely receive.
Speaking of, a match with the winner of Robert Whittaker and Michael Bisping would make sense. Both men are just above Brunson in the rankings, but neither are on strong enough win streaks to challenge the Top 5.
This fight basically brought Alvey back to reality. Though his recent win streak looked amazing on paper -- three first round knockouts is nothing to scoff at -- but it begins to fall apart under close inspection.
Alvey definitely has a place in UFC as an entertaining action fighter, but anything more than that is quite unlikely.
It's unfortunate for "Smile'n Sam" that the stoppage played out as it did. Despite his flaws, Alvey does have massive power, and his opponent was swinging very recklessly. If he managed to work back to his feet, who knows what would have happened?
Sadly, not us.
Last night, Derek Brunson ran through Sam Alvey in the very first round. How high can Brunson climb in the talent-rich middleweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 73: "Teixeira vs St. Preux" results and play-by-play click HERE!