UFC 205: Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor will be a historic main event fit for an equally historic UFC event.
This is the first ever MMA event held in the city of New York taking place in none other than Madison Square Garden which has been home to some of the biggest combat events in the history of boxing. Now we welcome a new sport to the Garden and with a new sport a new venture as Featherweight title holder “Notorious” Conor McGregor looks to claim his stake in MMA history. He aims to be the first UFC fighter to consecutively hold two title belts with a victory over current light weight chamption Eddie Alvarez. What match-up could be better to christen MMA fans in the fight capital New York.
Now this super fight could warrant the visit the first UFC visit to New York on its own but the rest of the card is absolutely stacked with marquee fights. We have none other than three total title fights including welterweight champion Tyron Woodley as he looks to best dynamic striker Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. We also see Joanna Jedrzejczk put her ruthless Muay Thai skills against fellow polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
In what could easily be another title fight based upon skill level, we see recently dethroned middleweight king Chris Weidman test his skills against one of the most athletic fighters on the roster, Cuban destroyer Yoel Romero. Another welterweight venture for Donald Cerrone as he looks to make it three in a row in his new weight class against Kelvin Gastelum. Finally we see another recently title holder in Miesha Tate as she looks to rebound against Raquel Pennington.
Keep reading for Youbetyah breakdowns as well as the best betting tips in the game for the biggest UFC card of all time!
Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez
This monumental title fight is the first of its kind as no other current champion has ever looked to secure a second championship belt whilst on the UFC roster. Whether that’s because no other champion has been allowed to challenge another champion or because there hasn’t been enough demand from the fans or possibly even both, now we finally get to see what the fans have recently been clamouring for.
As much as some of the more vocal fans have been spouting this match up as another clear victory for Conor against a wrestle boxer in Eddie Alvarez they certainly are mistaken. From the unexperienced fans perspective Eddie Alvarez looks to have had a somewhat fortunate run to the title belt in his short UFC run. Whilst he was battered on route to a unanimous decision loss against Cowboy Cerrone he then went on to eke out two split decision victories against Gilbert Melendez and then former title holder Anthony Pettis.
At first glance this doesn’t look to be in Eddies favour but this hasn’t stopped him in the past. Very few people picked Eddie in his latest fight against Raphael Dos Anjos but Eddie whilst consistently backed up to the cage he managed to land his signature looping right hook to the jaw of the southpaw RDA. This is important to remember when we consider how often Conors opponents have been knocked out whilst backed up against the cage.
Eddie Alvarez keys to victory
Whilst Eddie may not be as accurate as Conor on the feet or seemingly having the consistent one punch knockout power as the Irishman, he does however have the experience edge. Eddie has travelled the world honing his skills against the best in the lightweight division for the past 10 years such as his break out fights in Russia for Bodog promotions, in Japan for Dream and of course in the US where he made his name as the “Underground King” capturing the light weight title against Tony Imada in Bellator.
You may say Eddie has finally arrived both a mixed martial artist as well as an athlete. With so many athletes fighting at the highest level we so often see a peak at the 10 year mark in combat and then usually only the most skilled, successful and possibly lucky fighters get to stick around. MMA is a brutal sport and without a good chin, recovery or defence you won’t be around long enough to sharpen your skills. Eddie has two of these qualities and he has them in bundles. Although his defence often leaves something to the imagination Eddie has shown time and time again inhuman ability to absorb power shots early and return fire after recovering. In his first fight and second fight against Bellator vertern Michael Chandler we saw repeatedly tagged but was unable to be put away by strikes.
It’s this experience he needs to lean on to good effect in this pivotal match up. As much as Eddie can be lured into a brawl against some opposition he needs to utilise a measured game plan as he did against Pettis taking as little damage on the feet as possible to get in range and then shoot for the takedown be it single or doubles. Eddie needs to use his in and out movement and fading punches to get into the pocket along with leg kicks to disrupt the rhythm and the wide stance of McGregor which will keep him out of danger whilst draining the energy from Conor. This is undoubtedly a fight Eddie needs to push in the later rounds if he is smart, not withstanding a huge bomb early Conor most dangerous in first five minute of the fight. Look for Eddie to use feints and fakes to lure out the first punches from McGregor and then a flurry of body, head combos followed by entries into the clinch.
We must not forget Eddie started his career primarily as a brawler that developed into a submission wrestler who has now matured into a patient game-plan-orientated wrestle boxer. He needs to utilise all of these skills if he is to out speed, out match and overwealm McGregor until he is on top where he can show of his submission skills.
Conor Mcregor keys to victory
The keys to the victory for Conor rarely change. He is in my opinion light years ahead in terms of striking skill compared to the rest of the light weight division except a few top fighters, unfortunately however Eddie Alvarez is not one of them. Eddie has said that Conor has not been in the cage with anyone like him although I believe it will be Eddie who is shocked at the disparity in striking skill. Although what we do know is this doesn’t always matter, an example would be heavyweight Cain Velasquez out striking another boxing aficionado in Junior Dos Santos on route to a brutal beat down.
Conor must look to apply measured pressure to Alvarez as well as crowding Alvarez lateral movement. He will look to thwart that lateral movement with spinning back kicks to the body, spinning heel kicks to the temple and round house kicks to the midsection. As he limits this lateral movement he will begin to push Eddie’s back to the cage and its here where Conor will begin to unload his long straight punches. Conor is a master of guiding opponents to into his best weapon which is by far his signature straight left hand. However Eddie has a habit of throwing his looping hooks with his chin down and his head ducked which will present a punch we have scaresley seen Conor use in his UFC tenure. The uppercut.
Eddie will naturally be prepared for the straight left of Conor and its here where Conor will create traps and aim to land unseen punches on Eddie chin. Look for Conor to feint his straight left, step outside to his right and land a right handed lead uppercut on the shorter man as shown below.
Conors loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 199 may be looked at as a blessing in disguise after Saturday night. In that loss we saw Conor humbled to some extent and he now knows he cannot run through each opponent without preparation and certainly without world class training. McGregor was reborn in his rematch whilst so many people wrote off his cardio and proclaimed he was an 8 minute fighter he came in and fought the bigger, more conditioned Nate Diaz to a majority 25 minute decision. A feat not easily accomplished.
Conclusion and betting tips
Eddie has fought and beat elite wrestlers in Michael Chandler, he’s faced phenom submission specialists in Shinya Aoki and he’s faced extremely well rounded world class level champions in Raphael Dos Anjos, but has he faced a truly elite MMA boxers like Conor McGregor? Eddie Alvarez relies on his incredible durability and conditioning to overwhelm opponents with big punches which either give him an entry into the clinch where he works his dirty boxing and takedowns, or where he will KO or TKO his opponents against the cage. The problem is he often is over agressive throwing his stance out and leaving his chin available. Against a precision counter striker like Conor McGregor this will not serve him well. Unless Eddie can hurt Conor or get a takedown early then he will be hurt by punches early and unlike other opponents Conor will not let him off the hook.
Youbetyah prediction – Conor McGregor by knockout inside of 3 rounds @ odds of 1.66 with any of our promoted bookies.
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