UFC Fight Night 98 Fight Breakdown: Sam Alvey vs Alex Nicholson

Sam AlveyPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look ahead at the Fight Pass Preliminary headliner at UFC Fight Night 98 as Sam Alvey takes Alex Nicholson in Mexico City, Mexico. Sam Alvey (Record: 28-8, -235 Favorite, Power Ranking: C) The Wisconsin born and raised middleweight is currently on a two-fight winning having finished his last two opponents. Alvey has been one of the more active fighters on the UFC roster in 2016. This is his fourth fight in the last six months. The Team Quest product continues to prove his staying power in the UFC’s middleweight division. He’s won five of his last seven fights in the UFC. Not only has he won those five fights, but he has won them all by stoppage. Alvey has a reputation for sometimes being too tentative on the feet, looking to land the big punch as opposed to building his way with volume, but he does land nearly four significant strikes per minute inside the octagon. Not only that, but he has shown to be accurate successfully landing 51 percent of his attempts. Alvey counters really well on the feet and has big knockout power. He doesn’t take huge swings, but he has a knack for landing clean strikes that can put an opponent away with one punch. He combines that with an excellent chin. Alvey has no issue standing and trading with an opponent. Alvey does hold a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, but rarely needs to use it because he has excellent takedown defense. He’s defended 88 percent of takedowns attempted against him in the Octagon. The way to beat Alvey is sticking to the outside and beating him with volume. Strikers that possess a high work rate have proven to be his kryptonite during his career. Alex Nicholson (Record: 7-2, +195 Underdog, Power Ranking: D) American Top Team product Nicholson enters his bout with Alvey on the back of his first victory inside the Octagon. He knocked off UFC debutant Devin Clark in July 2016 and is looking to move above .500 in the UFC with a win on Saturday night. Nicholson definitely surprised some people with his surprising knockout win in his last outing against Devin Clark. He is primarily a striker and one of the longest fighters in the weight class with an 81-inch reach. While an above average striker, where he’s had his most success is with spinning attacks, as he tends to use those type of attacks consistently with a decent level of success. Nicholson can be exposed on the ground though. His grappling ability is rather limited, and he can be controlled on the mat. Matchup In this matchup, there’s a lot more riding on the bout for Nicholson than there is for Alvey. Nicholson got himself in hot water with the UFC when he made a racially charged comment while cornering his teammate Mike Perry against Hyun Gyu Lim. The UFC has Nicholson on a short leash, so with a loss to Alvey, he would likely be cut from the UFC. As for Alvey, he’s built a solid record in the promotion and is a proven finisher, so a loss here would not put him in danger of receiving his pink slip. As for the fight, I’m expecting an entertaining bout that will be contested exclusively on the feet. Nicholson is the type of fighter who will go after it, but that will play into Alvey’s hands. Alvey is a good counterstriker and will be able to land when Nicholson moves in. Combine that counterstriking with Alvey’s excellent chin, and this fight is Alvey’s to lose despite the significant length advantage for Nicholson. Given Alvey’s ability to finish, I’d expect him to win by knockout, but a decision also isn’t out of the question. I handicap Alvey at just over a 2-to-1 favorite in this fight, so as currently priced I don’t see much of a betting opportunity in this bout.

Written by Jay Primetown

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