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Warlley Alves coming into UFC Gdansk after a pair of losses outside the cage, too

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Warlley Alves looks to get back on track after losing two in a row in the UFC.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Warlley Alves had a year to be forgotten in 2016, but he refuses to see it that way.

Once seen as one of the greatest prospects in the welterweight division after a perfect run as middleweight on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, Alves suffered his first defeats in MMA by the hands of Bryan Barberena and Kamaru Usman last year, and those were only two of his biggest losses.

Alves lost a close friend in between those fights, when he suffered a violent car crash in Rio de Janeiro, leaving behind a wife and young daughter. Right after Alves’ defeat to Usman, another friend passed away due to a heart attack at age 26 — also leaving behind a family of a wife and a child.

“[Last year] was a really tough year for me, I had two losses in my career and two losses in my personal life,” Alves told MMA Fighting. “I can’t say how tough it was for their families and close friends. I was hoping that 2017 would be my year to bounce back, but then I had a biceps injury and had to postpone my return.”

Alves’ life finally got back on track recently. After weeks of physical therapy, he was cleared to return to training and got a fight booked at UFC Gdansk.

Alves "finally" got married on Sept. 30, and decided to postpone his honeymoon in order to train for Jim Wallhead at Saturday’s UFC Gdansk.

A week before the fight, though, Wallhead was pulled from the card due to an injury, but the UFC managed to find a replacement on short notice, signing Polish welterweight Salim Touahri.

“I'll dedicate this win for their families,” Alves said.

With his personal life coming back to normal, Alves focuses on becoming once again that fighter that impressed fans around the world.

“I've lost a lot fighting the way people expected instead of fighting the way I wanted,” Alves said. “I want to brawl. I train for three-round brawls. That’s what fans want to watch. When I became a MMA fan watching PRIDE and the UFC, I enjoyed fighters who went for brawls, and always said that’s who I wanted to be.

“There are some grapplers that have a cool style, going for submissions, but the majority just wants to grab people against the cage and do nothing,” he continued. “I want to excite the crowd, I want to make them stand and scream like lunatics. I want to brawl. I want to give them what I had when I watched my favorite fighters compete."