Joel Álvarez: “If I go it’s to win, I have no doubt”

Joel Álvarez already has a date to return to the cage. After his big comeback for UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, against Russian Zubaira Tukhugov, he was ruined by visa problemsthe Spanish will fight again. He will face Marc Diakiese on July 22 at UFC Fight Night in London. and have high expectations. “If I go it is to win, I have no doubt. That’s what I work for, I go there with the idea of ​​winning and I think we can finish before the limit”, says Joel on his return to competition a year later for a rib injury which is now fully recovered.

An injury kept Joel Álvarez out of the Octagon. In February 2022, the man from Gijón injured his rib in his fight against Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Vegas 49. The Armenian hurt his side in the first minutes of the fight and fell via TKO in the second round. The Spaniard was coming off a four-fight submission win streak. More than a year later, Joel is fully recovered.

The man from Gijón already wanted to return to the cage, but this time off has been good for him. “We have learned a bit through trial and error. And yes, it is true that I like to be active, but it is something that I needed. I needed to disconnect to reconnectJoel explains. He hasn’t competed, but he hasn’t stopped training all this time. “What we have done has always been to keep training and maintain the level of training. Not with such intensity, because in the end you break. It has happened to me other times to be training as if I were going to compete, without really having a competition in sight. And you break, you literally break. This time we have stayed in a 60% line until the phone rang and we already hit that shot up. Go progressively, it’s much better”, assures the Spanish fighter.

He was going to make his big comeback in February for UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, where he would face Russian Zubaira Tukhugov, but ultimately couldn’t fight due to visa issues. “A fight in which we had everything very clear, the job was done and all the homework done. It was a bit of a disappointment”, explains the Spaniard. But his time has come. On July 22, he will face Marc Diakiese at UFC Fight Night in London. “If I go it is to win, I have no doubt. I work for that, I go there with the idea of ​​winning and I think we can finish before the limit”, says Joel. He has been preparing for a few weeks in Morocco and arrives with very good feelings. “I was three weeks in a row in Gijón with people from outside training. I came to Morocco for three weeks. There are people from the UFC, from Bellator, from the PFL, Abu Dhabi Warriors… I’ve been shooting for a few weeks in a row, always shooting with different people”, says the Spaniard.

His opponent is Marc Diakiese, a British fighter born in the Congo. “We know each other. Plus, we have a good relationship,” reveals Joel. He has 16 wins, six of them in the first round, and six losses. “It’s a fight I almost counted on with her, because I always thought I would end up running into him. He’s a guy who’s pretty creative up front, just like me, with the strike. But then, in his last few fights, he has based them on going to fight, to ensure victory. He’s not a guy who ends up on the ground or anything, but he keeps you there. He is gaining assault time. It’s a nice fight to watch, fun”, explains Alvarez. He is also grateful that the lawsuit is in London, due to its proximity and comfort.

Joel would like to fight at least one more time this year.. “Yes, it is true that I would like to fight three times this year. If I can, I’m going to do it”, says the man from Gijón. In April he announced that your partner is pregnant. “I would like to be active this year because I’m going to be a fatherand I think that this will give me a bit of a break”, predicts the fighter.

Ilia Topuria he dreams of bringing the UFC to Spain, and it seems that he will achieve it soon. The Hispanic-Georgian, number nine in the featherweight ranking, will have his first stellar fight on June 24 against Josh Emmett (fifth in the ranking) in Jacksonville, United States. Joel also wants the biggest MMA company in the world to come to the national territory. “I think it is the moment. Now both Ilia and I are going to fight and, adding up both victories, I think there may be a UFC Spain at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year. There are a lot of fans, they have grown a lot, ”says the man from Gijón. He is very “proud to have to work so that this sport continues to grow at a national level”, and “open the way a little for future boys”.

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