Octagon Oracles: Former Interim Titan FC Champ Rafael Alves

Rafael Alves gets his arm raised by a referee as a Titan FC belt is wrapped around him. Interim Titan FC champ Rafael Alves will get his UFC debut on Saturday. Photo Credit: Titan FC / UFC Fight Pass

It’s finally time for Rafael Alves to get his shot in the UFC. The former interim Titan FC champ will appear under the bright lights of the UFC after three previous bookings this year fell through for varying reasons.

Alves enters the UFC on a five-fight win streak. This included three appearances in Titan FC, which culminated with a stoppage championship win over Felipe Douglas in 2019

Alves officially punched his ticket to the UFC on the last season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” where he submitted Alejandro Flores in the second round with a guillotine choke.

Alves has a tough challenge ahead of him for his UFC debut. He will fight Damir Ismagulov, who has won three bouts in the UFC thus far.

The Octagon Oracles crew assessed Alves before his fight on Saturday night.

Tom Albano

Grade: C
After having to deal with the most tragic of circumstances that led to a bad weight miss in February, Alves finally gets the chance to make his octagon debut at UFC Vegas 27.

Alves, the former interim Titan FC Lightweight Champion, made a statement in his appearance on “Dana White’s Contender Series” this past summer, doing two backflips into the Octagon before scoring a highlight, second-round submission of Alejandro Flores.

Alves, who trains at MMA Masters, is good at scoring takedowns, but his striking is probably the better component. He will bring plenty of pressure towards his opponents and force a fight. Sometimes, it works in his favor and scores a neat finish. Other times, he pays the price and gets finished.

He’s got a tough UFC debut, facing Damir Ismagulov, who has one loss in 23 professional fights and is considered a potential name to watch in the lightweight division.

And in spite of his skills, Alves, who turns 31 in October, may have some success in the octagon, but perhaps not enough for a big enough impact.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
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Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: A-
Watching Alves’ Titan FC fights, he had almost everything. He’s extremely athletic. He’s a BJJ black belt. He hits like a truck. He can throw a wide variety of strikes from each stance. The only thing that bothered me was his decision-making. He was fighting like Michel Pereira at one point – he tried to pass guard by jumping at his opponent and barrel rolling in the air.

In his last couple fights, though, something seems different. He limited his acrobatics to before both of those fights. He still opened his Titan FC title fight with a switch kick, but he also controlled the fight with a variety of strikes and takedown attempts, mixing his opponent up by throwing leg kicks and trip attempts with a similar setup. He got hurt in the first round, but he went to his back and used his guard to stall, just like Oliveira did last weekend. He’s fighting smart now, and that’s scary. He’s working in feints, not staying in the pocket as long, and seems to have improved his striking defense. His striking defense is still his biggest liability, as far as I can tell. A better wrestling game would be nice, too. Still, there’s a lot to like.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
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Title Contender
Champion

Kristen King

Grade: B+
It has taken some time to get Alves to the octagon following his successful appearance on “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year, but he was worth the wait.

He is one of the more complete additions to the lightweight division, boasting excellent skills in both the striking and grappling departments. Alves is as explosive as they come and pushes forward until his opponent goes down. If the initial blitz does not work, then he can always rely on that right hand of his, which has a ton of power. He also has no problem going to work on the ground as he often gets the better of his opponents on the mat. He can quickly lock up a submission and often goes for a guillotine choke.

Although he is a phenomenal grappler, Alves has found himself on the receiving end of a few submissions throughout his career. That is definitely something to keep in mind if he ever meets a better grappler than him inside of the octagon. I think he does well enough to be somewhat of a staple at 155-pounds, so he should stick around as the years go by.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
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Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: C
Alves already proved me wrong once when he won his “Contender Series” fight. The reason I was pretty low on him there is because he was 18-9 at the time and most of those came on the Brazilian regional scene. Maybe Alves has turned a corner since he was 14-9 and lost to a Jason Fischer (14-4) on something called College Throwdown 2. This was after he was knocked out via leg kicks by Gilbert Burns training partner Vagner Rocha. Do I want to buy a guy that good BJJ and has gone 5-0 between Combate, Titan FC and Contender Series but also a guy that has nine losses in Brazil? I don’t know.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion