Sam Alvey’s light heavyweight success continued at UFC Utica on Friday, as he knocked down Gian Villante early and held on to capture a split decision win.
Smile’N Sam Alvey continued his journey in the UFC’s light heavyweight division when he faced Gian Villante on Friday. The bout opened up the main card of UFC Utica, a.k.a. UFC Fight Night 131. Alvey was coming in off a win over Marcin Prachnio, a win that represented his first venture to 205lbs in nearly eight years.
After touching gloves, Alvey and Villante got right to business, with Villante holding center and walking down Alvey, who stayed on the outside. Smile’N Sam looked to hit home with a counter, while Villente added kicks, working the leg, body, and head in sequence. As Villante continued to move forward, Alvey showed patience, setting up for a big left hand. A low blow, however, paused the action as a Villante kick landed below the belt on Sam. Back underway, it was Villante again coming forward. Then, Alvey finally connected with that big left hand. Villante was dropped! Alvey went right after him; Villante got up, and Alvey fired away, missing a couple of uppercuts that looked like they would have sent Villante’s head sailing into the stands.
Round two came with a question, how rocked was Gian Villante? Alvey launched an overhand early. Villante, however, continued to move forward. He continued to throw kicks as he had in round one, but had to be more aware of the power in Alvey’s hands. Alvey fired off a combo, and circled away. Another short left connected; Villante landed a right. With about ninety seconds left in the frame, he’d connect with another, perhaps his best of the round. Alvey again finished round two strong; no knockdown, but he connected with a number of blows, while Villante came back with a left of his own.
Villante fired early in round three. Alvey and Villante would continue the dance from the earlier rounds; Sam circled as Villante walked forward, with Alvey looking to land the big counter. He connected with a jab/cross combo, Villante threw a number of kicks. If Villante had a slight edge in strikes in the third, it was Alvey again with the hardest blow towards the end of the round. Gian Villante finally went for a takedown as time wore down, but Alvey fought it off, and it was all up to the judges after that. Two of whom saw it for Smile’N Sam.
“I hit him with everything and the kitchen sink, and he wouldn’t stay down!” Alvey exclaimed after the fight. “Right here in Utica, I want to call out Corey Anderson” he added.
Sam Alvey def. Gian Villante by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)