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UFC 205: O’ Eddie Boy, the Fists, the Fists are Callin’!
DAILY FANTASY RUNDOWN
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What a magnificent card UFC 205 has shaped up to be! Three title fights grace the main card of the star-studded event, including a chance for the 1st 2-title champion since BJ Penn did it back in the day when he was “The Prodigy” and not the “Dude, you should have retired like three years ago”. Conor McGregor will face off against the current LW champion Eddie Alvarez, in what should be a intense, extremely strategical fight for both men. The other two title fights are Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson looking to become the new WW champion against current champ Tyron Woodley, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk defending her title for the 4th time against a fellow undefeated strawweight in Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Obviously, I’m not going to call them by their actual names, so it will be JJ vs KK. Easy peasy. Even the former MW champion Chris Weidman is on the main card! And then there’s the undefeated lightweight (and probably the future champion) Khabib Nurmagomedov, finally getting to fight on a card after numerous knee injuries had halted his rise to a title shot. Just so many studs! It will be a great week to build up lineups as you can go in any direction really, since there are so many legitimate fighters you can roster at a lower than usual price. Let us decide who to use.

Katlyn Chookagian vs Liz Carmouche

Carmouche, along with Ronda Rousey, was a part of the 1st women’s MMA match in UFC history, so it makes sense that she would be on the 1st New York card as well. We last saw Carmouche defeat Lauren Murphy over a year ago, and Murphy was also the last opponent Chookagian defeated as well. Coincidence? I think not. It’s not the greatest fight to start UFC 205 off, but it’s still a fight nonetheless. It’ll be pitting a longtime wrestler/grinder versus an excellent at range striker with good take-down defense and octagon movement.

Carmouche does one thing and one thing only – push for the take-down at any means necessary. Over her long UFC career, she’s never really stood up and fought on the feet for more than a minute, as she runs in haphazardly with tons of level changes and single/double leg attempts. Whether they work or not is besides the point, as Carmouche simply wants to get in her opponent’s grill and make life difficult on her opponents up the fence. Chookagian has a nice protruding jab and an excellent defensive stance as she’s able to circle away and avoid pressure. Lauren Murphy tried her best to close the gap between the two and try to get into the clinch for some take-down attempts, only landing one successful take-down and often getting hit by the jab on her entry attacks. The same could happen for Carmouche, but she’s a much more grittier version of Murphy with much more experience and a little bit stronger as well. I can’t envision a scenario that results in a finish for either fighter, with Carmouche’s fighting style probably the best option for rostering as she could conceivably land several take-downs and get 70 points in a decision win without doing much damage. Chookagian isn’t a high volume output striker and will be spending most of her time in a defensive stance. I think Chookagian probably should be able to stay on her feet and punish the majority of Carmouche’s entry take-downs, but wouldn’t it be great if Liz got a win in Madison Square Garden as the 1st female fighter to both be on a NY card and part of the 1st female MMA match in UFC history? I just got chills.

Carmouche via unanimous decision

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Rafael Natal vs Tim Boetsch

Even though UFC 205 is a loaded card from prelims to main card, the fight pass prelims are unfortunately very bad. Natal vs Boetsch is one of those fights where you just kinda shake your head in disappointment and shrug your shoulders. They’re two mediocre fighters who keep getting wins to save their UFC careers and continue to be employed. Boetsch is a fan favorite due to his funny comeback knockout wins, but his fights as well as Natal’s can be insufferable to watch. You’ve been warned.

The best way to describe Natal’s fighting style is that little kid in the playground who got tired of being bullied and decided to stand up to the bigger kid. Instead of taking him head on, he’d just dance around and try to gas out the bigger kid, side-stepping and circling away with some quick jabs and maybe kick him in the shin. Eventually the bully would get tired of chasing the little guy around and just jump on him, ending it on the ground or just walking away to drink some chocolate milk. That’s about how most of Natal’s fight have went, with the occasional little kid standing up to the bully actually working out and punching the bully in the face on the ground. Otherwise, it’s just a “catch me if you can” gameplan from Natal. Oddly enough, Boetsch actually does fit into the bully/bigger kid role here, as he’ll chase Natal around trying to clobber him as much as possible. He could end up just flailing away, hitting air and getting jabbed repeatedly and mocked at. Natal’s a grinder who knows his strengths and weaknesses, won’t overcommit to anything, and will run away as much as possible. Boetsch doesn’t really care about the flow of the fight, even if he’s all bloodied up and getting beaten badly on the feet. It’s an interesting dynamic between both guys’ fighting styles, and Boetsch does have that fight ending power which makes him a decent dog to use for GPPs. Otherwise, I’m probably gonna avoid the fight altogether as Natal doesn’t provide much fantasy points unless he gets take-downs. Shrug.

Natal via unanimous decision

Jim Miller vs Thiago Alves

This will be Thiago Alves’ 1st fight at lightweight in the UFC, which makes the fight a very weird and difficult fight to break down. Miller’s riding a short but solid 2 fight winning streak as he tries to gain some traction for a chance at bigger fights. Winning against Alves would be a great thing for Miller’s career as Alves still carries some name recognition and presumably still offers a dangerous challenge to Miller. Alves is a strong, physical Muay Thai striker with thunderous leg kicks and the power to knock out anybody, while Miller is a quick, effective boxer with heralded BJJ skills. It very well could turn into a wrestler vs striker battle.

Let me start off by saying Alves in his prime was a wrecking ball at welterweight, only struggling against quicker guys or those with competent wrestling games. He’s always had the same striking gameplan over the years – pound the lead leg with hard kicks, land clean, accurate counter-punches and lean on his left hook. Alves is a compact striker with shattering power and ridiculously accurate leg kicks, especially when he starts hitting the body for a liver shot. Moving down to 155 may expose his already questionable cardio and might lessen his power, which would be a big boost for Miller. If Alves isn’t able to regain his welterweight form and brutalize Miller’s legs while staying in front with the usual 1-2 combo, he might struggle staying on his toes against a quicker Miller who will be frothing at the mouth to get the fight to the ground. Miller’s a fantastic BJJ black belt with a decent take-down offense, mainly grinding out level changes rather than doing anything special or creating clinch trips. Miller is nothing fancy on the ground, just quick, effective 2-3 combinations as he goes with the flow of the fight. If he’s winning handily on the feet, Miller will continue to employ the stick and move strategy. If it turns out he’s better off getting it to the ground, he’ll go ahead and force it to the fence and try to grind his way into a take-down. Whatever the case may be, I only see 2 ways that the fight turns out. Alves destroys Miller on the feet and gets a late round knockout as Miller struggles to handle the bigger Alves and fails on his take-down attempts. Or, Miller ends up being much too fast for Alves to pinpoint his attacks and ends up flat on his back, getting his neck squeezed. Good chance for a finish in the match-up, but until I see Alves at 155, I gotta give the edge to Miller.

Miller via 3rd round RNC

Belal Muhammad vs Vicente Luque

Muhammad was slated to fight against Lyman Good, then the USADA scrapped the fight and found Good guilty of being Bad. Terrible pun. Unfortunately for Belal, his new opponent in Luque might actually be better than facing Lyman Good. It’s not a super short notice for Luque, so we’ll assume both fighters employ their usual gameplans. We could see some exciting and explosive striking exchanges if Luque doesn’t decide to use his grappling early, as both men have 4 KO/TKO victories each in their careers. Remember the names!

Luque comes into the fight with a 3-fight winning streak in the UFC, all by finishes, as he brings his great grappling prowess with a solid, compact striking style. He’s similar to Belal in several departments, as both enjoy landing the jab as much as possible and create combos from it. They both have a single leg take-down that’s their bread and butter to complement their striking. Belal is a little more aggressive on the feet than Luque, preferring to be the one starting exchanges and pushing the pace. Luque is willing to sit back and land counter-strikes from the pocket, and has more usage of leg kicks especially to the body. Muhammad has the worse striking defense, generally struggling to react and defend headkicks. That’s something Luque may pick up on early and use it to his advantage. They’re both quick strikers with not many wasted movement or attacks, so it’ll probably come down to their grappling. Luque is the much better grappler, having belts in multiple grappling practices and is much more aggressive on the ground as a submission hunter. Muhammad struggled against Alan Jouban’s kicks and consistently got countered to death, something I see Luque being able to replicate. If Belal decides to wall-n-stall, that might be a bad thing since Luque could flip the switch and get a drop on Muhammad and go to work from top control. It’s a close fight but Luque just seems to have the better tools and more options to win the fight than Muhammad. Can he continue his finish streak?

Luque via 3rd round TKO

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Michael Johnson

KHABIB! The eagle has landed finally and his destination will be at Madison Square Garden! He’ll face a tough test against Michael Johnson, who backed up his talk with a1st round KO over Dustin Poirer. Nurmagomedov is currently undefeated with a 23-0 record, including a 7 fight UFC winning streak. He’s arguably the guy Eddie Alvarez should be fighting in the main event, but he’ll have to keep his cool and remind everyone that he’s the real contender in a loaded lightweight division. It’s a true wrestler vs striker battle, pitting one of the best wrestlers in the UFC against the lightning quick aggressive boxing of Michael Johnson. With Tony Ferguson winning a tough 5 round battle against Rafael Dos Anjos, Nurmagomedov likely needs a finish against MJ to really force the UFC”s hands and give him the title shot over Ferguson, who’s also riding a very long winning streak at nine fights!

Point blank, Khabib is one of the best, if not the very best wrestler in the entire UFC. His combat sambo wrestling style really complements both his size and quickness as he’s able to land a plethora of take-down setups, including the famed suplex. Khabib’s built up a 23-0 record simply by being insanely aggressive with his take-down offense and neutralizing almost any offense from his opponents on the ground. He’s got a slick grappling game and has  an extremely cerebral positional game that consistently gives him the upper hand on ground and pounds. MJ will be his biggest test to date as MJ has a wrestling background with probably the best stand-up Khabib has faced thus far in the UFC. Some may bring up his win over RDA, but that was before Dos Anjos really stepped up his skill-set and went on his championship run. MJ has always depended on being the fastest striker in his matchups, pushing forward with an incredible pace on his jab/straights. He’s the type of guy that if you dare try to land something on him, MJ will strike back with twice as much with impunity and fury. That may end up helping Khabib more than MJ thinks, as Khabib could goad MJ into overreacting on an exchange which would open up a massive window for a take-down opportunity. If it ever hits the ground, it’s all Khabib from there, as he’s a literal shark on the ground. MJ will have to paint Khabib’s face with never-ending jabs and keep as far away from Khabib’s arsenal of take-down setups, especially if he gets stuck in the clinch. I am a huge fan of Khabib and think he’s a massive matchup nightmare for the majority of the division, MJ included. I really can’t see MJ being able to fend off Khabib’s take-downs and might struggle with his strength. With how DK has scored take-downs and advances, Khabib could end up being with well over 100+ points even in a decision win. Khabib’s landed 13 take-downs in the last 3 fight combined after his ridiculous 21 take-down fight against Abel Trujillo that would have broke DK’s scoring system. The Eagle has landed.

Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision

Frankie Edgar vs Jeremy Stephens

Man, this is such a ridiculous card. Frankie Edgar on the prelims?!? He’s coming off a disappointing loss to Jose Aldo, but he’ll have to have a short memory as the guy in front of him has ill intent behind every punch he throws. Jeremy Stephens does not care who he faces, as long as they are unconscious on the ground and Stephens gets his hand raised in victory. He got a huge win against Renan Barao and a highlight heel KO against Dennis Bermudez that’s solidified his status as a legitimate featherweight. It’s brute power against smart, savvy striking and wrestling sprinkled in. Edgar should have the upper hand in cardio and technique, but when you have power like Stephens does, anything could happen.

Edgar will be the smaller, but much more fleet of foot and will bring all of his expertise and technical striking against a bigger, more lumbering power-puncher Stephens. Edgar is a skilled boxer, knowing how to play the slip and dodge game while handling octagon control like a magician, finding effective angles and creating corner traps that can lead to a quick trip take-down. Stephens isn’t really the kind of striker that wants to dance around and create angles, as he’d prefer to just get in front of you and swing away. He’s got some meaty hooks and an admittedly slow but devastating right overhand that Edgar has to watch for. Edgar is just way too skilled of a striker to fall for Stephens’ shenanigans at turning it into a firefight, as Edgar will simply use his typical gameplan of continuously landing a stiff jab and widen the gap between the two with footwork and movement. He’ll sprinkle in some take-down attempts to keep Stephens honest, but I don’t think Frankie will do it much as he’ll be at a size disadvantage and he’s already got the upper hand on the feet. Stephens will have to utilize the Jose Aldo gameplan, which was simply letting Edgar come to him and counter-strike effectively while circling out of trouble, avoiding any unnecessary extra follow-ups. Problem with that is, Stephens loves those extra follow-ups. He just can’t shed his brawling mentality, and that’s why it’s probably a blowout for Frankie Edgar. 80+ sig and maybe 2 take-downs for a decision victory is what I’ll predict for Edgar.

Edgar via unanimous decision

Miesha Tate vs Raquel Pennington

Almost an exact replica of the Tate/Jessica Eye fight, a Tate/Pennington main card fight on such a loaded card seems unnecessary and strange. Yes, Tate is a former champion and has name recognition among other things, but she’s not exactly the kind of fight you want to start a main card with. Pennington is more skilled and experienced than Jessica Eye, so it won’t be an easy matchup for Tate to just use her size and wrestling to keep the fight on the ground where she has the superior advantage. Can Pennington  continue her 3 fight winning streak as she faces her biggest test to date?

forum_nbaOver her past few fights, Miesha Tate has started to improve her striking, unleashing her overhand right more and more, but she’s still very skittish during striking exchanges and would prefer to use her size advantage and grappling to win most fights. It’s how she got the upset over ex-champ Holly Holm, getting in a well-timed take-down into the belt winning RNC submission. It’ll be the same plan against Pennington, who’s primarily a boxer with some struggles defending the take-down. It’s a similar fight to the Jessica Eye matchup, where Tate was able to land some overhands on top of Eye’s jab and forced the fight to the ground, where it was basically a massacre in Tate’s favor. Pennington’s a little better and bigger than Jessica Eye, so it won’t be as easy for Tate to bumrush her and drag her into deep waters as it was versus Eye. There’s two scenarios I see happening the most here – Pennington keeps her distance and has underhooks ready to defend every take-down, out-muscles Tate against the fence and is able to keep chipping away against Tate’s mediocre striking defense and slow, predictable offensive striking. The other scenario is Tate just completely overwhelming Pennington with level changes and double leg take-downs, getting positional advantages from top control to grind out a decision. Maybe she gets in a submission, but Pennington’s a tough gal even off her back. Unlikely for a finish for either fighter, but I’ve liked Pennington’s recent success and think she can avoid getting plastered on the ground long enough to pull out a 29-28 decision.

Pennington via unanimous decision

Donald Cerrone vs Kelvin Gastelum

Another ass to kick for Cowboy Cerrone! It’ll be a tough ass to kick as Kelvin Gastelum got one of the bigger wins in his career after a tough 3 round battle against Johny Hendricks that showcasing his improved striking and proved him a worthy WW contender for years to come. Gastelum may have some strong wrestling chops and has the size to devour the division if he wanted to, but he’s preferred to stand and bang in the majority of his fights, which pleases the violence fan inside of me. It also pleases Cerrone, as anyone who decides to bring the pain to Cerrone generally ends up on the wrong side of a beatdown. Cerrone’s riding a 3 fight winning streak since he moved up to welterweight after a loss to ex-champ Rafael Dos Anjos at lightweight. He’s clearly looked extremely comfortable at a bigger weight with less cutting issues and somehow looks even more dangerous than ever. It’s a great fight for Cerrone to really break through in a competitive division against a legit opponent.

Donald Cerrone has a classic Muay Thai style with heavy emphasis on stringing together quick 3-4 strike combinations and controlling his space with leg kicks, especially the push kick and mixing in body punches/kicks. He’s a very high volume output striker that can attack every part of the body from every angle with every limb. Cerrone is a devastatingly accurate striker with the BJJ credentials that make him equally dangerous on the ground, whether from top or off his back. He’ll be at a size disadvantage, but will hold the speed and technical advantage against Gastelum. Now, I don’t know if Gastelum will elect to use his wrestling and try to grind/tire out Cerrone near the fence or try some single/double leg take-downs, as that’s really the only way he can defeat Cerrone. Gastelum also likes to force the issue by pushing forward and getting up in his opponent’s face at all times. Gastelum just doesn’t have the hand speed or enough tricks up his sleeves to defend against Cerrone’s leg kicks, which can come fast and in flurries at a moment’s notice. Gastelum is a very tough guy to knockout, so while Cerrone’s been on a finishing tear, it’s probably more likely he gets a high output decision win rather than a finish. Of course, he did brutally knock out Patrick Cote, who had never been knocked out in his professional career. Cerrone is a MMA DFS dream fighter, always bringing it to every opponent he faces and has giant upside no matter who he faces. He’ll have his chance at a high sig output with decent finishing potential, but be wary of Gastelum’s wrestling, as that could make it a slow paced fight.

Cerrone via unanimous decision

Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero

Another fighter riding a big win streak! Yoel Romero is on a 7 fight win streak, including wins over Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza, and Tim Kennedy. A win over Weidman likely puts Romero in the title contender spot, but it’s a very difficult matchup as Weidman has all the tools that can frustrate Yoel that his previous opponents didn’t have. Weidman’s also a hometown boy and has extra motivation to get back in the title shot shuffle as Luke Rockhold suffered an injury and likely will be the man left behind in the MW division. It’s do or die time for both fighters as Romero is 39 years old and another loss for Weidman probably kills any future title shots for some time.

This is such an interesting matchup, as Weidman generally does well against opponents who try to play the counter-striking game, forcing them to have to close the distance. Yoel Romero loves to utilize that strategy, stalking his opponents around the cage and biding his time until he explodes into something bizarre and crazy. He’s got flying knees, spinning back fists, and a deadly left straight that’s ended people’s lives. Romero was able to catch Machida on a pick, then quickly bloodied his face with hellbows for a TKO victory. Both men are excellent wrestlers in their own right, with Romero having an Olympian wrestling background and the sheer physique to throw off or around his opponents like the puny human they are. Weidman is a little more of a grinder and can match Romero’s strength as he’s basically a New York blockhead himself. The guy eats chicken wings while in training! Weidman’s got the better overall striking due to the volume and his fantastic ability at cutting off the cage, which is why he did so well against Anderson Silva and other opponents like Machida. His biggest issue has been cardio,which luckily for him is also a weakness of Romero’s, perhaps to a bigger extent. Romero is 39 years old and clearly knows he can’t try crazy, explosive strikes every minute, so he’s calculated in his usage of whatever he tries to do. It’ll likely come down to how Romero handles Weidman’s aggression and cage cutting tactics versus Romero’s ability to land a knockout punch. I have a feeling Weidman smothers Romero all around the octagon, winning the striking battles and eventually getting in a take-down, putting his BJJ black belt to use for a submission victory.

Weidman via 2nd round arm triangle

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz

JJ vs KK! Joanna Champion’s been the shining star of the strawweight division, stringing together complete dominance performances in her successful title defenses. She’s landed 522 significant strikes in the last 3 fights combined, and that’s including a 3rd round KO against Jessica Penne! Karolina’s coming in with an undefeated record much like Joanna, but her striking isn’t as fast or as creative as Joanna’s. Kowalkiewicz’s still a great striker in her own right, landing 259 significant strikes in her last 3 fights. It’s safe to say we’re gonna see an unfathomable number of sig strikes being thrown and landed by both women. Joanna Champion might even land over 300+ sig strikes if it goes the distance! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED????

This will be a extremely high volume striking output battle between two excellent combination heavy strikers who don’t really go for the take-down or try stalling techniques. It’s going to be fast and furious, especially in the later rounds when both women tend to get into a rhythm and start pouring it on. JJ is the more experienced, craftier striker than KK, as she absolutely turns on the speed and will consistently land long, winding combinations that drain the life out of her opponents. She’s got an uncanny ability to land 3 punches in a split second, which is a big reason why she’s able to land an exorbitant amount of sig strikes. KK prefers to stay at range and try to figure out what her opponents are doing, then create advantageous situations where she lands the correct counter to their counters. It will be a difficult test for KK to consistently be able to figure out what Joanna Champion will try to do, as JJ’s blistering speed and never using the same combo more than once keeps her busy and unpredictable all fight long. It’s a little too much of a test for KK early in her career, but it should still be an entertaining fight nonetheless. KK”s major weakness is her lack of head movement, which is basically death in the hands of Joanna Champion. This might get really brutal near the 4th-5th round as Joanna ramps up the volume (never seems to quit) and could force an early stoppage. Massive, massive upside for both women as there will be plenty of sig strikes being landed. #AndStill

Jedrzejczyk via 5th round TKO

Stephen Thompson vs Tyron Woodley

It only took one punch from Woodley to completely change his spot in UFC’s history books, as his 1st round KO over Robbie Lawler was as surprising as anything that had happened in 2016. Lawler’s last knockout loss was to Nick Diaz in 2004! 2004!!!!! 12 years ago! Woodley will face one of the most unpredictable strikers with some of the flashiest kicks you’ll see across the MMA landscape as Karate/kickboxing phenom Stephen Thompson will put his 7 fight winning streak on the line. Shifty, awkward side-stance Karate striking versus brutal one punch knockout power and sheer physical wrestling. Whoever wins absolutely deserves to be called champion of the welterweight division.

Thompson has a very wacky, almost crab-like stance that has him standing side-ways for most of the fight. It’s a technique he’s absolutely brilliant at scheming with and creating unique striking angles with his Karate and kickboxing background. He’ll sit there with his hands down and dare you to attack him first, then worry about the consequences later. He’s got probably the fastest reaction time in the division with the speed to match, as any of his counter-straights can land right on the button. In addition to his rangy, unorthodox striking style, Thompson has some of the flashiest kicks in his repertoire, including the famed spinning hook kick that knocked out Jake Ellenberger. Thompson will be facing a decorated NCAA Div. I wrestler and behemoth Woodley, armed with the one punch KO power many dream about having. Woodley has a nice little scheme that involves using fake picks (going for the leg take-down) and forcing opponents to respect his offensive take-down skills, which drops their hands lower than usual in an effort to stymie whatever comes their way. Woodley knows this and uses it to his advantage, landing devastating right hand bombs that normally would get him countered or miss completely. It’s going to be a battle of reaction time between the two, pitting Wonderboy’s counter-straight against Woodley’s take-downs. The reason why I give the edge to Thompson is due to Woodley’s chin, which could shatter on any clean punch landed by Wonderboy. If Woodley is able to escape most of Thompson’s awkward and creative striking, he may be able to completely smother him with all kinds of take-down attempts and keep it on the ground, staying extremely heavy on top and winning a boring decision. There’s also one aspect of the matchup that I feel many may have ignored, and that’s the reliance of Woodley using the fence to his favor, preferring to walk back and have his back almost right up the fence. From there, opponents are forced to close the distance, opening up counter-windows for Woodley. Thompson is an assassin when he has his opponents cornered, so that would be a really, really bad thing if Woodley fell back into his old habits. Then again, Woodley did knock out Lawler which I thought was impossible to do. Man, MMA is crazy. Pick both of them!

Thompson via 2nd round KO

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Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez

Yeah, we all know who Conor McGregor is. So let’s talk about Eddie Alvarez instead. He’s a tough Philly kid who’s always wanted to be in the limelight but never made it to the big stage till later in his career once he left for FA after his stint in Bellator. He’s been involved in crazy, amazing fights across all MMA promotions, and he’s always been a fan favorite due to his willingness to be involved in brawls. He’s obviously gotten smarter and wiser as he’s aged, choosing to use his wrestling more effectively instead of standing there and getting beat to a pulp. That’s not good news for McGregor, who has one big Achilles heel – his take-down defense and overall grappling skills. It’s the clear cut road to victory for Alvarez, which makes the fight all the more intriguing. Will McGregor finish Alvarez early in the 1st round as to avoid the inevitable battle against Alvarez’s wrestling and test his admittedly wobbly chin? Can Alvarez repeat his success against Rafael Dos Anjos that saw him finish the ex-champ in the 1st round in a fight many didn’t give Eddie a chance in? Does it matter? Of course it doesn’t! It’s an amazing fight no matter what happens, so just sit back, eat your popcorn, and enjoy all the blood that will get spilled. Rejoice!

All right, let’s keep it simple. Eddie Alvarez will try to get right in McGregor’s face and get the fight near the fence as much as possible, where he can wall and stall or weasel his way into a take-down drop. It’s not likely Alvarez will take his chance standing against one of the most accomplished counter-strikers the UFC has seen, with unorthodox movement and a chin made out of granite. Here’s the problem with that. Alvarez has all the tools and skill-set to make life miserable for McGregor, but he’s got the one ultimate weakness that completely plays in Conor’s hands. That’s his questionable chin, having been dropped multiple times across many of his fights. It’s the classic “OH GOD I’M HURT OH GOD WHAT DO I DO, wait I’m okay I’m okay LET’S DO THIS BABY!” that seems to happen once every fight. McGregor doesn’t play that game, buddy. Once he gets you hurt, it’s curtains. Alvarez was able to stifle both Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez’s striking by completely suffocating them, refusing to give them an inch of space to operate. It’s what made him a victorious champion (along with a well-timed counter-right). McGregor’s got major cardio issues, and it’s showed up in every single fight that’s gone beyond the 1st round thus far in the UFC. It’s his kryptonite, and with an already underwhelming take-down defense, it’s a nightmare matchup for McGregor if he can’t get the swift knockout early in the fight. Alvarez just seems to get better and better as the fight drags on, and I hesitate to say that Alvarez knew he had a way better chance facing McGregor for huge amount of money + PPV points compared to facing Khabib Nurmagomedov. Whatever the case may be, it’s a coin flip in the 1st round, but if it makes into the 2nd/3rd round, look for Eddie to put the clamps on McGregor and finish it on the ground. Can’t believe I’m picking against the Irishman, but Alvarez’s got this.

Alvarez via 3rd round RNC

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