Prior 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 at the preliminary headliner at UFC on FOX 23 as Sam Alvey takes on Nate Marquardt in a middleweight clash in Denver, Colorado. Sam Alvey (Record: 29-8, -150 Favorite, Power Ranking: C) The Wisconsin born and raised middleweight is currently on a three-fight winning streak and has won six of his last eight bouts in the UFC. Alvey has been one of the more active fighters on the UFC’s middleweight roster. This is his fifth bout in less than 12 months. The Team Quest product continues to prove his staying power in the UFC’s middleweight division. 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 49 percent of his striking 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 Brazilian 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 defeat 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. Nate Marquardt (Record: 35-16, +130 Underdog, Power Ranking: C-) A former champion in Pancrase and Strikeforce, Marquardt is a longtime veteran of MMA, having first fought professionally in 1999. Marquardt moved back up to middleweight in 2014 and has had a 3-3 record since the division change. In his last outing, he finished Tamdan McCrory in the second round. Marquardt is one of the more well-rounded fighters on the middleweight roster. He’s well-versed in a variety of martial arts disciplines including BJJ, kempo karate and kickboxing. Over the years, he’s shown a balanced attack combining heavy hands, a solid kicking game and solid wrestling game. He averages nearly three significant strikes per minute in the Octagon, successfully landing at a 49-percent clip. He combines that with securing 2.10 takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage. Overall, he’s shown an ability to finish, with 27 of his 35 wins inside the distance and more than 10 victories by both knockout and submission. At one point, he was one of the best fighters in the world. As he has aged, durability has been a major issue. Four of his last five losses overall have been by T/KO, and that dates back to 2013. Marquardt doesn’t have the chin he used to have, and once he gets hit, he really struggles to find his footing in a fight. Matchup A matchup of two veteran middleweights headlines the preliminary portion of the UFC on FOX 23 card. I expect this fight to remain on the feet. Marquardt does have a decent wrestling game, but Alvey is very difficult to take to the mat, as he hasn’t ended up there once in his last seven fights. Despite Marquardt having a more varied striking attack, the striking advantage goes to Alvey, who is a very good counter-striker and able to hurt opponents when he lands. Marquardt hasn’t shown that he can go 15 minutes with an above average striker, especially one with legitimate knockout power. Marquardt may start out strong in this fight, but once Alvey gets going, the fight will turn quickly. Look for Alvey to be able to hurt Marquardt with a clean overhand midway through the fight that will wobble him. From there, Marquardt will struggle to stay in the fight, and I expect the referee to step in and end the fight. Alvey at -150 provides a bit of value, as he should be a 2-to-1 favorite in this bout, with finishes in Round 1 or even Round 2 an interesting angle if you are considering props for this fight.