Luis Felipe Alvim is the new Juiz de Fora Fight welterweight champion, and his story is unlike everything you’ve ever seen.
Juiz de Fora Fight 18 was expected to feature Carlos Eduardo Rufino vs. Claudinei Kall for the 170-pound belt in the main event, but Rufino missed weight by almost a pound. Kall was upset, but initially agreed to take on the overweight opponent. A day later, moments before the fight, Kall changed his mind and decided to pull out of the bout.
And that’s when Alvim enters the story.
The 22-year-old mixed martial arts fan, a black belt in muay thai under UFC lightweight Felipe Silva and blue belt in jiu-jitsu, was in attendance to watch the event. Alvim cooked some brownies with his girlfriend Fabiana to sell outside the hotel to be able to buy a pair of tickets. When they arrived at the hotel, though, most of the fans had already entered the place, so there was no one around to buy his brownies.
Alvim and Fabiana decided to use the money they were saving to pay some bills and purchased the tickets.
They entered the hotel, and Alvim went to the locker room to visit his coach Felipe Silva and some of his friends that were scheduled to compete that night, and that’s when he heard about the main event situation. Alvim volunteered to replace Kall in the main event, but the spot was already taken.
“I told Felipe Silva I’d fight, that I’d put on a show, but a new fight was already booked,” Alvim told MMA Fighting. “Forty minutes before the main event, this guy chickened out and they offered me the fight again.”
Alvim had never fought MMA before — he has 15 muay thai bouts and a few jiu-jitsu tournaments under his belt —, and stepped in against Rufino, a 5-1 welterweight who suffered the only defeat in his career in July, when he competed for the Jungle Fight 170-pound belt.
With no other option available, Juiz de Fora Fight promoter Valdir Araujo agreed with the suggestion. Alvim put the gloves on and entered the cage to make his MMA debut in a welterweight title bout.
In front of 1,500 fans at the Gran Victory Hotel in Juiz de Fora, Alvim was taken down by his opponent, and immediately attacked with an armbar, but Rufino defended. Alvim made a transition to a triangle choke and forced Rufino to tap.
“He took me down and landed some heavy shots, and I though ‘oh sh*t, what the f*ck am I doing here?’” Alvim said. “When I locked the triangle I thought to myself, ‘sh*t, I’ll catch him.’ I asked God ‘please, don’t let this round end,’ and he tapped.”
The crowd went nuts with his win. After receiving the belt, Alvim proposed to his girlfriend. From cooking brownies to buy tickets to winning the promotion’s belt on less than a hour notice, Alvim hopes his story inspires others just like Achilles inspired him earlier that day.
“I showed my girlfriend — my fiancee now [laughs] — the trailer of the movie Troy yesterday,” he said, “in which this kid tells Achilles he’d never fight a giant like Achilles was about to do, and Achilles says ‘that’s why your name won’t be remembered.’ That stuck in my mind.”