WSOF’s Roger Alves “Feels Like It’s Time” to Make MMA Run After Training And Coaching Team Hayabusa
Decorated Wrestler Hasn’t Fought Since 2004 Loss to Kajan Johnson
By Kelsey Mowatt
Nearly a decade has gone by since Roger Alves has competed in a pro MMA bout, and if one were to conclude that he’s past his prime, or that he’s just returned to training, they’d be wrong. Not only is Alves just 28 years old, but the decorated wrestler has been coaching and developing out of the renowned Hayabusa Training Centre in St. Albert, Alberta. As a result, World Series of Fighting Canada booked Alves for its February 21st card in Edmonton, despite the fact he hasn’t fought since October, 2004.
So why is Alves returning to the cage now? Almost ten years after he lost via split decision to current TUF Nations competitor Kajan Johnson?
“Well, two reasons,” Alves said while appearing recently on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “First one was that fight with Kajan kind of turned me off MMA a little bit. I fought in PG (Prince George), that’s where he’s from, and back then I was just a wrestler. I didn’t know MMA, no boxing, no jits, and I took the fight on two, three weeks notice.”
“I went in there, I got taken down right off the bat in that fight; there was a lot pressure, it was my first time,” Alves recalled. “I was nervous and he caught me right off the bat…he had me down for about two minutes, I reversed him, and for the next two and-a-half rounds I was on top of Kajan. Losing that fight, in a split decision, being in control for two-and-a-half rounds, kind of turned me off MMA, and the way judging was and all that, so I just focused back on wrestling.”
As a result of his extensive wrestling accolades, which includes six national titles and over twelve provincial championships, Alves has remained close to MMA and was hired to coach Team Hayabusa. The gym has helped produce UFC competitors like Mitch Clarke and Nick Penner, and also includes established vets like TUF Nations middleweight Luke Harris.
“Over the years I have been training MMA,” said Alves, who will fight Jemark Brady on February 21st. “I’ve been doing boxing and I’ve been doing a lot of jits. I figured now that it’s kind of evolved, and things have improved, and I’ve been training, I think it’s time to give myself an opportunity with something else too. There’s a lot more opportunity in MMA these days then there was back then.”
“I just feel like it’s time,” added Alves, who fought and defeated UFC vet Jesse Bongfeldt in an amateur bout back in 2003. “It’s one of those things that I don’t want to regret one day. I’ve thought about it a lot over the years going back, and I’m like, man, I could have skills to do something in this sport and you know what? It’s just time to do it.”
Alves will be looking to build on a pro record of 1-1, as prior to facing Johnson, he scored a submission win over Grant Tennant in November, 2003. Alves turned pro after going 3-0 as an amateur.
“It’s exciting for me; I’m nervous, obviously, because it’s been a long time,” Alves furthered. “It’s something I’ve got to do and I’ve got to give myself a shot you know?”
While Alves clearly hopes to make a run in MMA action, the fighter doesn’t plan to step away from his coaching duties.
“I’m still going to coach and I’m also going to train,” said Alves. “I’m definitely going to keep coaching because my classes are in the evenings, a couple days a week, after all the other ones, and we have morning pro team classes so I can make those.”
“I do my wrestling at the University of Alberta, because I’ve been wrestling there my whole life, and I’m even still competing in wrestling this year…it works out perfectly,” “R-G-A” noted. “I go to the University for wrestling and I go to Hayabusa and I can just focus on the guys. If want to jump in I can jump in.”
The February 21st WSOF Canada show will be hosted by Edmonton’s Expo Centre, and will feature Ryan Ford taking on Joel Powell for the promotion’s vacant welterweight Canadian title.