The saying goes “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” and for current MFC middleweight champion “Smilin’” Sam Alvey, that was very much the theme for his year in 2013.
After starting off the year with a 185-pound title loss to Elvis Mutapcic, Alvey regrouped, picking up two wins in a row and capturing the MFC title that had eluded him earlier in the year.
“The MFC is one of the premier MMA leagues in the world and they’re always looking for people who can compete on any stage, anywhere at any time, and to do that you need to be able to adapt,” said Alvey looking back. “I started off last year with a loss, but it was a close loss and was a very good fight. I adapted and made a couple little tweaks and came back with two knockouts in a row.
“Even though the year started off slow, it picked up big time, and now I’m a world champion.”
Alvey told MMAWeekly.com that culling his ability to adapt is what got him back on track last year.
“One of the things I had to change was being able to alter my game plan during the fight,” he said. “Usually I did that all right, but in my fight against Elvis it didn’t work that way. My goal was to stand and bang – that’s all I did – and it was a mistake.
“Since then, I’ve worked with my coaches and corners a lot more on being able to do what it takes to win as opposed to just going in there to show how tough I am. It really showed off in my fights against Jay (Silva) and Jason (South).”
For Alvey, winning the MFC middleweight title was the best form of validation his career could have gotten.
“This championship that the MFC has blessed me with proves that hard work pays off,” he said. “I’ve fought some of the best in the world and I’m a world champion now because of it.
“I think I can compete with anyone that’s ever stepped foot in the cage or ring. I feel I’m one of the best in the world and the MFC belt helps prove it.”
Alvey (21-5) will get his first opportunity to defend his title on May 9 when he takes on Wes Swofford (9-4) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, at MFC 40.
And while Swofford may appear to be a heavy underdog in their fight, Alvey is not taking him lightly, as he wants to start his year off as strong as he finished last year.
“Wes is fantastic opponent,” said Alvey. “He’s pretty strong, has heavy hands, and most of his wins are by first-round knockout. He’s a very dangerous opponent. I can’t get lazy even for a second because he will counter it. I’ve really been working everything I can to be ready for him. I’ve got to be a little quicker, a little stronger, and when I swing, I connect.
“I’ve been doing everything I absolutely can to make sure I come out on top.”