On Saturday January 28, 2017 the UFC heads to the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado for UFC on Fox 23. The featured preliminary fight will be a pivotal middleweight bout between Sam “Smile’n” Alvey (29-8) and Nate “The Great” Marquardt (35-16-2). Alvey comes into the bout on a 3-fight win streak and is facing arguably the toughest test in his career in former UFC middleweight title challenger and former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nate Marquardt. Alvey was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss his upcoming fight.
How is your training camp coming along? The fight will take place in Denver, Colorado at high altitude, did you do any special preparation for the fight conditions?
“Training is going wonderfully; I’ve had some great training partners and a lot of coaching going into this fight. My last fight was in Mexico City about 1000 feet higher than Denver and I didn’t feel the altitude affect me that much. I’ve just made an effort to spend lots of extra time on my conditioning for this camp.”
The fight will take place in Nate Marquardt’s hometown; do you think the home field advantage for him? How do prepare mentally going into another fighter’s hometown knowing he may have strong crowd support?
“Going to somebody’s hometown is fairly easy for me. I’ve spent most of my UFC career traveling to other people’s hometown and I’ve been doing pretty well so far. I suspect the crowd will be very similar as everywhere else they’ll be quiet for me on my walk to the Cage and cheer for me on my walk out. “
What’s your take on everything Nate has accomplished in his MMA career? Nate has fought for the UFC middleweight title and even has a win over the current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, how excited are you to be facing a guy with such an impressive resume?
“Nate Marquardt is one of those legends in the sport that are very few and far between. He’s been fighting for a decade longer than I have and he’s accomplished almost everything every MMA fighter wishes they could. I could not be more excited about this opportunity.”
You are currently on a 3 fight win streak and have great momentum coming into this fight. How impactful would a win over Nate mean for your raking in the middleweight division?
“A win over Nate Marquardt would easily be my biggest win to date. It would put me on a four fight win streak and really help launch me into that mainstream of in the UFC.”
With a win over Nate do you see yourself ranked in the top 15 in the middleweight division?
“I really don’t know if I will become a ranked fighter with this win. It’s never been that important to me, I’ll get there when I get there until then I just want to make all the MMA fans in the world love watching me fight.”
Between you and Nate Marquardt you have 29 KO/TKO wins; do you anticipate this being a stand up fight?
“I hope it’s a standup fight that’s what the fans like watching. Both of us are pretty experienced grapplers as well though so it wouldn’t surprise me if we tried to get it to the ground once or twice as well.”
This fight marks your fourth fight in a time frame of about six months. What is your secret to staying healthy and active?
“My big secret is to just ignore the injuries. If I hurt something I will use something else. That has always been my philosophy with fighting.”
How do you see the fight playing out and what can fans anticipate from Sam Alvey on Saturday January 28th, 2017?
“I see this fight being a fight of the night kind of fight. I think everybody is going to be on their feet by the end of our fight and I see myself getting my hand raised.”
Anthony Birchak (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) returns to the octagon to face Joe Soto (15-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) June 6th, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 68. The fight will take place from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Both fighters were expected to fight at UFC 177 but when an injury took place to former bantamweight champ Renan Barao, the UFC scratched the fight and pinned Joe Soto against the TJ Dillashaw. Anthony Birchak will now have an opportunity to face Joe Soto. Anthony Brichak spoke to fiveroundmma on how excited he is to return to the octagon.
” Super excited to step back in against an opponent like Soto gonna try and curb my enthusiasm though so I don’t relive Phoenix lol”
Anthony Birchak was not able to face Joe Soto so he had to wait until December 2014 to make his UFC debut against Ian Entwistle in his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. Anthony Birchak came on the losing end being submitted in 64 seconds due to a heal hook. We asked Anthony what he learned from his fight with Ian Entwistle.
“Composure! I think I was so excited to get the takedown and get my hands on Ian that I made a rookie mistake that cost me my UFC win, I think this time around you’ll see a much more mature and poised version of myself.”
Joe Soto also is coming off a lose to TJ Dillashaw. Joe Soto got an incredible opportunity to face the UFC bantamweight champion in his debut fight. A win for Anthony Birchak over Joe Soto would be tremendous for Birchak’s career and he agreed.
” I want a chill to crawl up TJ’s spine and let him know he made the right decision fighting Soto that night instead of myself. An impressive finish over Soto shows that I’m right there at the top of the world with these guys!
The unusual thing about Joe Soto’s fight with TJ Dillashaw was that Soto was not ranked at the time and had been a sparring partner for TJ Dillashaw in the past. It will be interesting where Anthony Birchak is seen amongst the UFC ranking voters if he is victorious against Joe Soto.
” I don’t think top 10 but possibly top 15 or right outside it, Soto I think falls around 17 or so but let’s be real he got rewarded for losing the champ on short notice! How do you lose to the champion and get a top 15 ranking? He was supposed to beat you why get such high placement?”
Anthony Birchak has a point but I remember at the time Dana White trying to justify Joe Soto as a legitimate contender and how he took the fight on a days notice. I’m sure Anthony Birchak would have taken the fight as well for the UFC belt on a one day notice.
As Anthony Birchak prepares for the fight we asked him what is the most dangerous part of Joe Soto’s skill set?
“The lightning quick takedown is his saving grace as long as my reaction time and reflexes are working I think I got better hips and takedown defense. The way I see it Joe is a tremendous veteran in this sport, but, he’s done all he’s able to. He’s a multiple world champ, fought for the UFC gold and fell short and now its time I showcase my true ability and skillset and make my run to another championship. He doesn’t want this as bad as I do, I’m just getting started and it starts with the first footstep into the octagon on Saturday!”
Sounds like Anthony Birchak is feeling super confident and why not he too was a former champion! Brichak was the bantamweight champion for Maximum Fighting Championships. I asked Anthony how he predicted the fight to end against Joe Soto.
“It will end with my hands being raised and my name being announced as your winner! I can finish the fight but I don’t want that to cloud me just flat out getting the most dominating win of my career. Fight of the night written on it for sure though!”
Update: Elias Theodorou (11-0 MMA) (3-0 UFC) has been impressive since he conducted our written interview with FiveroundMMA. Elias exploded into the UFC by wining TUF nations. At middleweight Elias is one of the young rising stars. We last saw Elias at UFC 185 when he faced Roger Navarez. Elias Theodorou won via TKO in the second on top of that Elias broke Roger Navarez arm with a leg kick.
Read our interview with Elias from his fight against Bruno Santos and discover for yourself a charismatic rising star. We are still waiting for his hair match up against Kenny Florian.
Published September 2014
UFC Fight Night 54 on October 4th, 2014 is taking place at the Halifax Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On the main card that will air on Fox Sports 1 we have the return of the undefeated “TUF Nations” winner Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Elias is scheduled in a middleweight fight against Bruno Santos (14-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). Bruno Santos is coming off a split-decision victory over UFC veteran Chris Camozzi at UFC 175.
Elias Theodorou is catching everyone’s attention fans and the UFC with Elias’s second-round TKO of Sheldon Westcott to win the TUF Nation. Elias is currently undefeated and will try to continue that streak against a very tough opponent in Bruno Santos. Elias at only 26 years old fights out of Toronto, Canada and trains at multiple gyms but calls Tapout Burlington his home. Other gym Elias trains at includes TriStar home to the very famous George St. Pierre. Elias was kind enough to take a few minutes on fight week to answer some questions about his upcoming fight against Bruno Santos.
Fiveroundmma: How did you get your nickname of Spartan?
Elias Theodorou: If the shoe fits…I’m Greek and so was my first coach, who said I had the Spartan spirit in training. Basically, I took a licking early on and fought through it…eventually being the Alpha soon enough.
Fiveroundmma: How has your TUF Nation experience prepared you to have a successful career in the UFC?
Elias Theodorou: My time in the house prepared me to compete under pressure, without my friends, family and own coaches. Instead needing to use what I had to win.
Fiveroundmma: Tell us about your experience working with UFC veterans like Patrick Cote?
Elias Theodorou: I’ve known Pat for a while. The show just reinforced my great regards of the Canadian Pioneer of mma. I’m very glad to call him a training partner and friend.
Fiveroundmma: Many TUF alumni change weight classes once the competition is over. You won TUF nation in the middleweight class is this where you plan on competing or are you open at dropping down to welterweight?
Elias Theodorou: I’m a big boy. 215+ lean. So no weight dropping anytime soon. Add the fact that my body is still growing and that I’ve only begun a proper strength and conditioning programming, I’m only getting bigger.
Fiveroundmma: You are fighting Bruno Santos October 4th in a middle weight fight, how excited are you returning to the octagon after winning TUF nation?
Elias Theodorou: So excited to show everyone what I’ve been working so hard on the last few months. I’m a martial artist, always growing and so happy to be fighting in front of my fellow canucks!
Fiveroundmma: There has been recent weight cut issues such as (Renan Barao) blacking out during his weight cut making him unable to fight TJ Dillashaw. How is your weight cut coming along? What is your normal weight you walk around at? How strict are you at maintaining a healthy life style so you’re always in fighting shape?
Elias Theodorou: I’m an athlete and a professional. I can’t speak for others, but my team and I are very strict with my life style during camp. We don’t want to piss off the boss’. Add the fact I’m cutting down 30lbs – there is a science to the drop. Luckily I have a great team with me.
Fiveroundmma: Bruno Santos is known to be a grinder, only 2 fights out of his 15 pro fights have not gone to decision. During his fight with Chris Camozzi we can hear the commentator point out that Santos is a heavy middleweight and can gas out. Will you look to use your cardio as an advantage and keep the pressure on Bruno Santos?
Elias Theodorou: He’s heavy, but always able to stay in the whole 15 minutes. He’s also quite good at sticking to his game plan. Grinding. I’m going to take him out of his element by using my eight deadly limbs, moving and getting off his “tracks.” He wants to grab me, but won’t be able to get a hold of what he can’t catch!
Fiveroundmma: After Bruno Santos faced Chris Camozzi there were many fans upset for the lack of action. Bruno Santos looked to clinched and take down Camozzi the entire fight. Are you prepared for that type of fight and if he begins to attempt takedowns or clinches will it get you off your game plan?
Elias Theodorou: Very prepared. That’s what the whole camps focus has been. I would argue I am much more effective in the clinch and on the cage. If you watch my grind on TUF you can see I have a much greater pace. I think Camozzi gave Santos the fight after winner the first round….he got frustrated and was complaining to the ref rather than fixing his position. I’m much more disciplined and will look to tell Santos “NO” throughout the fight.
Fiveroundmma: You received a lot of criticism during TUF nation for being a “cage humper” and you even acknowledged it after your victory over Sheldon Westcott. What can we expect October 4th against Bruno Santos that will silence some of your critics?
Elias Theodorou: Going to continue the momentum from my last fight. My stats speak for them self…I plan to have fun doing what I love to do and do what I always do…win.
Fiveroundmma: Is there anything in Bruno Santos fighting style that you are specifically concerned about as you prepare for him?
Elias Theodorou: Nothing really. He wants to grab me…I will tell him “NO” with my fists.
Fiveroundmma: In a recent interview you acknowledged Bruno’s fight experience. Do you think that will be a disadvantage for you since you have less fights under your belt?
Elias Theodorou: Add in my undefeated kick boxing record and the two TUF fights and I’m a head. Not to mention I don’t know how to loss, and there is no road map to beating me.
Fiveroundmma: Can we expect any type of shout out during your fight against Bruno Santos? There were twitter fans stating it was un-sportsman like but then I saw some fans actually thought it was an amazing tribute. Do you feel the shout out is disrespectful to your opponent?
Elias Theodorou: Not trying to disrespect anyone. I’m just being me and having fun with what I do and the journey along the way. My dads birthday is Oct 10th…you never know 🙂
Fiveroundmma: What is your ultimate goal in MMA? In the UFC? Seems like you have a bright future outside of MMA (modeling/acting) will that ever change your priority list in terms of career path?
Elias Theodorou: My focus is on my training and being the best fighter I can be. I know that I’m young and just starting, but I want to strive for greatness. The rest will be thereafter.
Fiveroundmma: We are partnered with RMA (Redemption Martial Arts) an organization who is pushing awareness and a fight against bullying. Have you ever had a situation where you encountered bullying and how did you deal with it? What can MMA provide to deal with bullying? Any encouraging words for kids who may read this and are dealing with bullying?
Elias Theodorou: I like many, was bullied at a younger age. Being well aware of the short comings of my bullies, knew they were teasing out of their own insecurities. I know it’s hard, but the less you acknowledge, the less it empowers the bully. I also think the teachers play a big role alongside parents to create a better more enlightened child. Crummy parents raise crummy kids.