Luis Felipe Alvim walked away as the new Juiz de Fora Fight welterweight champion last weekend but astonishingly, he went to the competition as a fan.
Carlos Eduardo Rufino was due to take on Claudinei Kall in the fight for the 170-pound category belt but Rufino missed weight by almost a pound.
With a fight at stake, Kall agreed to take on the overweight Rufino but just moments before the main event, Kall changed his mind and pulled out.
22-year-old Alvim, a keen mixed martial arts fan, saw this as his opportunity to step in.
Alvim, who was with his girlfriend Fabiana, had made some brownies and planned to sell them outside the hotel hoping to earn enough money to buy a pair of tickets for the fight.
Unfortunately, the couple were unable to make enough, as most of the fans had already gone to the event, so they used the cash they were saving to pay off some bills, to purchase the tickets instead!
Alvim, a black belt in muay thai and blue belt in jiu-jitsu, went into the locker to pay a visit to his coach, Felipe Siva, as well as his friends who were also competing the same night.
After hearing about the main event situation from the group, he volunteered himself to replace Kall but discovered a solution had already been found.
But Alvim was in for some luck that night, as he told MMA Fighting:
I told Felipe Silva I’d fight, that I’d put on a show, but a new fight was already booked.
40 minutes before the main event, this guy chickened out and they offered me the fight again.
Although Alvim had never been in an MMA fight before, he stepped into the ring to take on Rufino – a welterweight fighter who had suffered only one defeat in his career, in July.
1,500 fans at the Gran Victory Hotel witnessed Alvim be continually taken down by his opponent in his MMA debut, but things turned around for the fan as he held Rufino in a triangle choke forcing him to tap.
He took me down and landed some heavy shots, and I thought ‘oh sh*t, what the f*ck am I doing here?’.
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’.
Enjoying the high of his win, Alvim went down on one knee, choosing a seemingly perfect moment to propose to his girlfriend, causing the crowd to go even more wild.
In the space of just one hour, Alvim’s life completely changed and he hopes his amazing story will inspire others to take risks and opportunities when they present themselves, adding:
I showed my girlfriend — my fiancee now — the trailer of the movie Troy yesterday 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.
We can all certainly learn a thing or two from this risk taker.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.