In the span of just a few hours, Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez was finally released by the promotion, and then scooped up by the UFC for a co-main event scrap against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178. This is fantastic news, as it puts the best non-UFC employed lightweight in the world where he belongs (i.e., in the UFC), and it guarantees fight fans loads and loads of violence.
But because Alvarez has been languishing in Bellator for years, and in other organizations before that, many might not have a firm grasp on just how good and capable a fighter he is (hint: he’s amazing). Therefore, questions linger as to just how well he’ll do against “Cowboy” – or everyone else who fights at 155 pounds in the Octagon for that matter. Here then is a breakdown of just a few of the top fighters who call the UFC home and how Alvarez would do against them.
- Nate Diaz – Diaz has a concise jiu-jitsu game and a very effective pitter-patter boxing game. But Alvarez has great boxing, too, and when he throws punches, he throws bombs. Just as we saw Josh Thomson wither Diaz with strikes, so too would we see Alvarez take the TUF winner out.
- Benson Henderson – Henderson and Alvarez are pretty much on par when it comes to wrestling ability, jiu-jitsu, and the ability to fight long fights. However, Alvarez has just a tad bit more explosiveness and power, and if the two were to get into a gunfight, it would be the former Bellator champ who’d come out on top.
- Don Cerrone – Believe it or not, as first fights in the Octagon go, Cerrone is one of the toughest match-ups the organization can make for the newcomer. This is mostly due to Cerrone’s saltiness and depth of UFC experience, but Cowboy is also a dangerous striker who could be able to capitalize on Alvarez’s propensity for letting himself get hit. Alvarez SHOULD be able to win his UFC 178 bout against him, and it will come via some thundering fists. However… you never know.
- Gilbert Melendez – The former Strikeforce champ is still pretty elite, but time and mileage have seen him lose a step. He’ll likely have the edge in wrestling and submissions against Alvarez, but the Philadelphia native is no pushover in those departments, and he’ll clip Melendez with kicks and punches enough to slow him down even further.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov – The Dagestani is a bit of an enigma in how he’s cut through the competition, so it’s hard to predict how this match-up would play out. Can Nurmagomedov survive a flush set of knuckles to the dome? Can he maintain constant pressure on someone who will seriously hurt him if he touches him? A lot of questions marks surround this one.
Said Alvarez to MMAFighting today:
But I want the title. And I’m willing to fight whoever I have to fight and willing to prove whatever I have to prove to whoever to get there. A lot of people are going to have their opinions and they’re going to say what they’re going to say, but the hardcore fans and the people who know MMA and know fighting they know who the underground king is, who doesn’t have the belt yet, and it should happen very soon. So I’m hoping that I get a very tough opponent, who’s going to put on an exciting fight. Just put someone in front of me who’s dangerous so I can show the fans what I’m capable of.
At UFC 178, against one of the organization’s elite, fans will definitely see what Alvarez is capable of. After that, the sky is limit.