Eddie Alvarez may not have electrified the MMA world with his split decision win over Anthony Pettis on Sunday night, but the lightweight contender isn’t about to apologize for what scored him the victory. And really, nor should he.
Although the UFC Fight Night 81 co-headliner featured some heated striking exchanges, much of the bout saw Alvarez clinching up with Pettis and trying to take him to the mat. The former Bellator champ also scored several takedowns in the bout, and in the end, did enough to earn the victory.
At the post-fight presser, here is some of what Alvarez had to say about the wrestling heavy strategy that he utilized (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“There’s a real small margin for error at the top, and you can’t be going out there being reckless with a guy like Anthony Pettis, who is dangerous, he’s talented, but he has a deep hole [in his game], so I need to exploit that. I’d be stupid not to. So I definitely got the job done. If I was able to do some highlights in-between, then that’s great. But look, I want to do something huge here.”
Now sure, Sunday’s bout might not prompt fans around the world to watch it again several times over, but it’s hard to fault Alvarez here. Pettis is one of the most dangerous strikers in game, and by closing the distance, Alvarez was largely able to shut “Showtime’s” best weapons down.
Further, it was a crucially important fight for Alvarez, as he needed a win to move into the title shot conversation. A loss would have moved his UFC record to 1-2 and likely would have dropped him out of the top five ranks.
Will Alvarez get the winner of RDA-McGregor? One would think the UFC will ask him to fight one more time, and Mr. Khabib Nurmagomedov could be the name that gets dropped.