Featherweight champion Conor McGregor made history last Saturday when he walloped Eddie Alvarez to become the Lightweight Champion, making him the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two weight classes simultaneously.
The fight capped off a monumental night of fights as UFC 205 was the first event held in New York since the statewide ban was lifted after a near 20 year political battle.
Eddie Alvarez was the test to prove once and for all whether Conor McGregor was fact or fiction. McGregor aced the exam with relative ease, but Alvarez didn’t execute the best game plan.
I’m not diluting what McGregor has accomplished and my prior experience with MMA training gives me pause when criticizing how fighters fight. However, this is a blog, and have to call it like I see it.
In front of a record-setting crowd in Madison Square Garden, Eddie Alvarez fought with a game plan derived from ego instead of pragmatism. The 3x world champion has been dropped multiple times in the majority of his fights for a variety of reasons such as keep his chin a little too high.
In most of those occasions, Alvarez was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Enter McGregor, whose destructive punching power is augmented by his bullseye accuracy, which serves as kryptonite to someone who fights like Alvarez…oh yeah, he’s a southpaw, too.
Alvarez knows his own history better than anyone of being knocked down multiple times in a single bout. Alvarez had no business trying to sleep a knockout artist. This can’t be chalked up to laziness or lazy thinking because that’s simply not Eddie Alvarez.
The Philly native might have been booed out of the Garden is he used his wrestling to pin McGregor against the fence for the twenty-five minute affair. That would make most fighters think twice, but Alvarez has never let that bother him before, such as his fight against Anthony Pettis, which got him his shot at the title.
Most fighters believe that they can stand and trade punches with Conor McGregor until they’re counting the lights. McGregor’s sophomoric pre-fight rhetoric makes him come off as more jester than fighter. As a result, opponents get lulled into a false sense of security, become over-confident and receive a first class ticket on the left hand express.
When you look at the résumé of Eddie Alvarez, it strongly advocates his ability to not fall into the same trap. Alvarez admittedly, abandoned the game plan, was caught off guard by McGregor’s speed and precision.
Why did he throw all caution to the wind? Because knockouts are sexy and look great on SportsCenter.
Wanting to look good first and win second cost “The Underground King” his throne.