When we last left Teams Carwin and Nelson, Neil Magny had just recorded a decision victory over Cameron Diffley. In the locker room immediately after the fight, Team Carwin congratulated Magny on his win, and extolled the virtues of gaining control of the fight picks.

“We have to put in place all the match-ups that we believe we can win,” Carwin said.

Meanwhile, in the Team Nelson locker room, Diffley apologized to the rest of his team for his performance. Despite losing control of the fight picks, Roy Nelson said the sense of unknown might actually work to the advantage of his fighters.

Nelson’s team didn’t seem to be bothered by being in the position of potentially being called out to fight, as a few of the members of his team relayed to the camera. One exception to this might have been Nic Herron-Webb, who annoyed teammates and opponents alike with his late-night whistling, pool-playing and rope-jumping. There was noticeable tension not only between Herron-Webb and Team Carwin fighters Eddy Ellis and Mike Ricci, but his own teammate Michael Hill also called him out for his antics.

“He needs to realize that our team is in the house too. Our team needs rest, our team needs sleep,” Hill said exasperatedly.

Elsewhere in the house, there was a fair amount of trash talk between Team Nelson’s Colton Smith and Team Carwin’s Matt Secor. Secor made it clear that he is under no circumstances in the TUF house to be “butt buddies” with the other fighters, and reasserted that he was only in the house to win the competition.

After this detour through the TUF house, it was time for the weekly fight announcement. With newly attained control over the fight picks, Shane Carwin chose his team’s number-one pick, Sam Alvey, to take on Team Nelson’s Joey Rivera.

Dana White appeared on camera to say that the fight was a great pick for Team Carwin, noting that Alvey looked relaxed and loose in his first fight. White was not as impressed with Rivera and predicted a “devastating knockout” by Alvey.

During Team Nelson’s training session, we learned a little more about Joey Rivera, who is from Arizona and owns a gym in Tuscon. He said that earlier in his life he was often put in the position of having to stand up for his mother and got into fights with her boyfriends, ultimately transitioning that fighting spirit into a professional career.

Nelson described Rivera is a “true mixed martial artist,” but noted that doesn’t shine in any specific aspect of the sport. In order to win against Alvey, Nelson said, Rivera would have to put him on his back, and keep him there.

Rivera, for his part, said he was looking forward to his showdown with his Team Carwin counterpart.

“I feel alive. I’m excited,” he said before the fight. “I have butterflies in my stomach and I can’t wait to let them fly.”

Team Carwin’s training session was next, where we learned that Sam Alvey hails from Wisconsin and is engaged to an America’s Next Top Model winner whom he met at a Renaissance Fair. Alvey trains at Team Quest in Temecula, Calif.

Team Carwin Assistant Coach Trevor Wittman said his favorite part of Alvey’s game is his creativity.

“His striking is incredible,” remarked Wittman, who added that Alvey does a lot of great things that aren’t taught and that he has a good feel for the sport of MMA.

Alvey was certainly approaching his fight with Rivera with confidence.

“Pretty much anywhere he wants to go I’ll beat him to the punch,” he said.

In a move to lower that confidence, or at least psych Alvey out, some members of Team Nelson took it upon themselves to move Alvey’s mattress to a new location. At first, they were going to go full Bad Girls Club and toss it directly in the pool. Showing some eventual restraint, however, the Team Nelson pranksters ultimately decided to do the practical thing and put the mattress on floaties so it wouldn’t get wet.

Unphased, Alvey simply said he’d have his revenge.

The next day, Alvey and Rivera both stepped on the scale for weigh-ins wearing garish attire. Rivera, sporting pink underoos, was on weight at 170 pounds. Alvey had to weigh in twice, not because he himself was overweight, but because his so-called “Spartan outfit” – a leather number that would make anyone embarrassed – caused him to exceed the welterweight maximum. After disrobing, he tipped the scales at 171 pounds.

Immediately preceding the fight, viewers got a glimpse into the psyches of both Alvey and Rivera. They were first treated to graphic detail of the lengths Joey Rivera will go to to keep him his wife happy while also retaining his “spiritual energy.” By comparison, Alvey’s philosophy toward success in the cage was a bit simpler: “Hit him harder and more often than he hits me.”

After all the training and talking was through, it was fight time.

Sam Alvey vs. Joey Rivera

Rivera landed a good head kick early in the first round, followed almost immediately by a takedown, his first of a few in round one. Rivera then took Alvey’s back, with Alvey standing. After hanging out piggy-back style for a little while, he dismounted and the two fighters jockeyed for position against the cage.

Rivera then scored a second takedown which he ultimately transitioned into an arm triangle, which then became a standing arm triangle before Alvey loosed himself from the choke attempt.

After getting free, Alvey mounted his first offense of the round by pressing Rivera against the cage and attempting a takedown. His efforts were in vain however, as Rivera used that opportunity to go for a guillotine choke (after basically DDT-ing Alvey into the mat). The choke was not a tight one, however, and Alvey was soon back on his feet, albeit in a front-choke position.

Rivera tried to finish the round with one more guillotine attempt by pulling guard on Alvey. Alvey quickly escaped and the round ended with about 30 seconds of Alvey either standing or in top position over Rivera raining down strikes.

The second frame started with both Rivera and Alvey measuring each other with punches and kicks. Alvey then pressed Rivera against the cage, where Rivera positioned himself for another guillotine attempt. The two remained in that position for a while until Herb Dean broke them up with about three minutes to go in the round.

The fighters exchanged strikes, with Alvey relying on lead right straights and hooks. Rivera attempted another takedown, which Alvey stuffed. He put Rivera on the cage once more, and once more Rivera positioned his arms for a guillotine attempt.

Such was Roy Nelson’s desire to see Rivera execute said guillotine that he actually demonstrated the technique he wanted to see with another of the team’s coaches.

After separating from the cage, Rivera rocked Alvey with a head kick and then landed yet another takedown. Rivera tried his best to keep Alvey on the mat, but Alvey was able to get back to his feet with just under a minute left in the round.

Rivera continued to press Alvey against the cage until Alvey spun Rivera around and took him down. Once more, he spent the final seconds of the round in top position on Rivera.

Unfortunately for Alvey, his late-round tactics were not enough to secure a victory, and Dana White announced Rivera as the fight’s winner, by majority decision.

Official Result: Joey Rivera def. Sam Alvey by majority decision (20-18 x2, 19-19)

Nelson said Rivera won because he followed the coaches’ directions, and encouraged his fighters to continue to absorb the expertise and advice doled out by him and his assistant coaches.

In the other locker room, Alvey said he thought he won both rounds, but then repeated the favorite axiom of all fighters who just lost a decision.

“Can’t let it go to the judges.”

Photo: Joey Rivera (R) connects with a head kick against Sam Alvey (Al Powers/Zuffa, LLC)

About The Author

Eric Reinert
Staff Writer

Eric Reinert has been writing about mixed martial arts since 2010. Outside the world of caged combat, Eric has spent time as a news reporter, speechwriter, campaign strategist, tech support manager, landscaper and janitor. He lives in Madison, Wis.