Alvey (33-14-1,1 N/C) vs. Julian
Odds: Marquez (-185), Alvey (+160)
Can "Smilin'" Sam revive his career back down at 185 pounds? Alvey's success always came with a style that didn't seem like it would work on paper; he has an impressive commitment to inactivity at times, preferring to wait out his opponents in the hopes that he can land one huge awkward counter to put their lights out. When it doesn't work, the result is almost always a terrible slog of a fight, but Alvey was riding relatively high for his first few years inside of the UFC; he'd land a knockout more often than not, and his goofy demeanor made for a nice change of pace in the middle of whatever card he was on. But the cracks started to show by the end of 2017, beginning with a weight miss and a flat performance -- even by Alvey standards -- in a loss against Ramazan Emeev. And so Alvey decided to ply his trade up at light heavyweight, which worked briefly but quickly went off the rails. Alvey was even more reticent to pull the trigger against harder hitters, and even worse, his durability began to fail him as well. On the plus side, he's shown a bit more life in his last two bouts; he took Ryan Spann to a split decision and Da Un Jung to a draw, which is at least better than the knockouts he was suffering beforehand. But it's still been six fights and nearly three years since Alvey's gotten a victory, a streak he'll look to break against Marquez. It's nice to see Marquez step in on short notice and on a quick turnaround; Marquez's bout in February against Maki Pitolo saw him return from a two and a half year injury layoff. "The Cuban Missile Crisis" didn't change much in the time off, for better or for worse; he's still a defensive void, but has enough durability and grappling skill to shuck off whatever his opponent tries and keep marching forward. That'll get him clocked here against Alvey, but unless Alvey can become the first man to knock Marquez out cold, Marquez should just keep pressuring and causing damage. Alvey might be able to slow Marquez down for a bit, particularly with some ugly grappling exchanges, but the pick is Marquez via second-round stoppage.
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