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Marcirley Alves da Silva and Ambition Unchained


Marcirley Alves da Silva can already point to one seminal moment in his career. The 24-year-old Brazilian laid claim to the Jungle Fight bantamweight crown with a second-round technical knockout of Julio Pereira de Almeida on Dec. 11, 2022. It proved to Alves that he had the skills necessary to compete at the sport’s highest levels.

“For people who come from northern Brazil, Jungle Fight is a big name,” he told Sherdog.com. “It was a very memorable achievement. I fought there and won the title in the biggest promotion in Latin America. Then I returned to my city with the belt. It was a very important fight for me.”

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Flash forward a year and some change later, and Alves has begun his climb on the Bellator MMA ladder. “Durin” next takes on the unbeaten Sarvarjon Khamidov as part of the Bellator Champions Series 3 undercard this Saturday at 3Arena in Dublin. Khamidov, 27, enters the cage with a perfect 15-0 record in tow—a run that includes back-to-back wins in Bellator. However, he has not fought since he submitted Kevin Petshi with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their Bellator 296 pairing on May 12, 2013. Khamidov sports nine finishes among his 15 professional victories.

“I’m going to fight a tough guy,” Alves said. “He has a very aggravating grappling game. I’m training a lot on the ground. People already know I have scary striking. Most of my wins are by knockout. He probably will want to take me down, but I’m feeling good. I’m training wrestling a lot with my coaches.”

Alves operates out of the Chute Boxe affiliate fronted by Joao Emilio in Bauru, Brazil. The gym affords him daily access to top-flight coaches and accomplished training partners, including Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Joanderson Brito, Melquizael Costa and Igor da Silva.

“Our team is complete,” Alves said. “We are training in all the areas, so nothing’s missing. I believe I’ll be well-prepared for this fight, and I believe I will win. I’m training hard for it.”

While momentum can prove fleeting in MMA, Alves carries it at the moment. He heads into his second assignment in Bellator on the strength of three consecutive victories, all of them by knockout or technical knockout. Alves made his promotional debut at Bellator 298, where he punched out former interim Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Jerrell Hodge a little less than four minutes into their Aug. 11 encounter. Now, he has his sights set on Khamidov.

“I believe that I’m well prepared for this fight,” Alves said. “I know he’s a tough guy. He’s coming off a win. I’ve studied him. I know what he’ll want to do. I know he won’t want to trade with me; he’ll want to grapple me. I’m feeling good for this fight, and if God blesses me, I’ll come home with a victory.”
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