Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC 205 in New York City as Eddie Alvarez puts his lightweight title on the line against featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Eddie Alvarez (Record: 28-4, +135 Underdog, Fighter Grade: A) The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native has competed against the best fighters in the division in his short stint in the UFC. Alvarez is coming off the biggest win of his career knocking out Rafael dos Anjos to become the UFC Lightweight Champion. He now enters into a whole new experience of not only facing Conor McGregor, but the enhanced media blitz that this is the first ever event at Madison Square Garden. A prep school All-American in both boxing and wrestling, Alvarez quickly gravitated towards MMA after finishing high school making his professional MMA debut at 19 years of age. Alvarez made his mark in Bellator debuting in the promotion’s first ever event. He fought in the promotion ten times, losing only once; in perhaps the best fight in Bellator history against Michael Chandler. Alvarez left Bellator in 2014 as the promotion’s best fighter to test himself in the UFC. Alvarez has proven to be a crafty veteran with a never say die attitude. He’s a solid wrestler with very good boxing. His skill set is well-rounded, but what really makes him an elite fighter is his heart and determination. He’s been in trouble in several fights, but knows how to fight out of bad situations and tends to get better as fights progress. Even when outmatched skill to skill, he finds ways to force his opponent into a dog fight ultimately making it very close for judges to score if it hits the scorecards. In 32 career fights, he’s only been finished three times and only once (that fight with Michael Chandler) since 2008. Durability, determination, and a well-rounded skill set defines Eddie Alvarez as a fighter. Conor McGregor (Record: 20-3, -155 Favorite, Fighter Grade: A) The pride of Dublin, McGregor has been on a meteoric rise in the UFC. He won his first seven fights in the organization beating the likes of Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes to earn himself the featherweight champion. McGregor jumped all the way up to welterweight earlier this year to fight Nate Diaz losing by second round submission. It was his first loss in the UFC and first loss overall since 2010. McGregor wasted no time getting back in the cage demanding a rematch; a fight that went the distance that the featherweight champion was able to squeeze out a close win. McGregor now looks to become the first ever simultaneous two division champion in UFC history at UFC 205. The featherweight champion has one of the best striking arsenals in the sport. His ability is predicated by his southpaw approach. He likes to use a lot of kicks to get inside where he can land his massive left hand to finish opponents. He does an excellent job of pressuring opponents and using cage control to limit his opponent’s movements. Defensively, he is hittable, but he has an excellent chin and has never been finished by strikes in his professional career. On the mat, he has shown modest success in top control. Where he’s had the most issues is on his back. He’s given up his back on multiple occasions allowing opponents to sync submissions. This was the case in his first matchup with McGregor. The champion showed improved cardio in his last bout and fighting this time at 155 pounds is probably the optimal weight for him as opposed to the bloated 170 pounds he fought at against Diaz. Matchup This is a tremendous main event for a massive PPV card in Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Combining the fact that this is the first ever event in New York City with Conor McGregor trying to become the first ever simultaneous two division champion makes this a very compelling and historic fight. I expect both fighters to come out firing from the opening bell. It’s in McGregor’s best interest to do so as Alvarez as vulnerable in the early exchanges. Alvarez doesn’t have as good of a chin as Diaz does so if McGregor can land with the type of accuracy he did in the Diaz fight, he has a very good opportunity to put Alvarez away. As the fight progresses, Alvarez’s resilience will come into play making this a competitive contest. Even one he could potentially win late. The biggest issue for Alvarez is the entire hoopla of fight week. Alvarez has definitely been affected by all the extra attention this fight is getting and that brings on unprecedented pressure for him. Pretty much every fighter that faces McGregor seems to fight much differently when placed into a cage with McGregor. I believe that will be the case on Saturday night as well. Look for McGregor to land big early and for him to put away an over anxious Alvarez to become a two division champion. McGregor by TKO / KO (+103) is the play in this bout.
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