BREAKING: Phil Hawes Steps In for Ian Heinisch to Face Veteran Sam Alvey at UFC Fight Night

Published 12/26/2021, 10:30 PM EST


UFC Fight Night on February 5 was slated to witness a middleweight clash between Sam Alvey and Ian Heinisch. However, per recent reports, Heinisch is now out of the scheduled contest and the UFC has already found a replacement.

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With Ian Heinisch out, dynamic striker Phil Hawes is prepared to make his mark against aging veteran “Smile’n” Sam Alvey. The news came forth via writer Cole Shelton.

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The middleweight division has had a massive spotlight on it in recent years, ever since Israel Adesanya stepped in as the champion. ‘The Last Stylebender’ has helped make the 185-pound weight class into a flagship division and there are always eyes on the contenders who face off. However, both Alvey and Hawes have a long way to go before they can enter into the shark tank that is the middleweight title landscape.

Sam Alvey vs Phil Hawes has all the makings of a middleweight thriller

To say that Sam Alvey needs to defeat Phil Hawes in their upcoming match-up would be an understatement. The 35-year-old middleweight hasn’t won a fight in June 2018 and is currently 0-6-1 in his last seven fights. He is coming off a split decision loss to Wellington Turman back in August 2021.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 24: (R-L) Da-un Jung of South Korea punches Sam Alvey in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 254 event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Alvey’s plotting movements in range could be a setback against Hawes, who tends to land strikes with conviction. If he is to have any success against a puncher like ‘Megatron’, he will need to pull the trigger and make the most out of any available opening.

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Recently, Phil Hawes suffered his first loss since August 2017 when he was knocked out by Chris Curtis in November. Prior to this loss, he was on a 7-fight win streak and was truly making waves in the division. ‘Megatron’ made his presence known on Dana White’s Contender Series and is certainly someone to watch out for.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 20: (L-R) Phil Hawes punches Nassourdine Imavov of Russia in a middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Hawes is explosive in close range and he’s able to cut in with precise power punches that often set his opponents back. He will have the speed advantage over Sam Alvey and utilizing it at range is something that Hawes will need to do. He’ll have to be wary of the counter as Alvey sometimes tends to hang back against the cage.

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Darryl Pinto

2133 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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