A Clash of Kings: Lightweight Division – Eddie Alvarez vs Rafael Dos Anjos
The light weight division is full of contenders only a fight or two away from being in a title fight. The Division is one of the deepest in the UFC, there is a bounty of fighters all fighting for the throne that is the lightweight title. But only one man can wear the crown, The King of the division – Rafael Does Anjos. It wasn’t an easy ascent to greatness, the path was paved with some of the toughest fighters to ever fight in the division. Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone. With this murderers row on a resume you might think the division is cleared. But lightweight consistently gives more hungry challengers – guys like Khabib Nurgamedov, Edson Barboza, Tony Ferguson, and Dustin Poirier. But they will all have to wait their turn for the crown. Eddie Alvarez has earned the first shot at the title.
Alvarez is a unique story in the UFC. He left the rival organization Bellator as champion and came over to the UFC. They threw him to the wolves in his first fight and he lost a decision to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Some weren’t impressed and to them the hype ended here. But in his next two fights he took out contenders and propelled himself to the title shot. He was the first to get on a streak of top 5 fighters. So he is the first one to get his shot against the champion. Some people have complaints that he isn’t the most deserving person for the shot. But in a division like lightweight any one could get a shot. Why not give the former Bellator champion his shot at UFC gold. If he can get Rafael on his back on the mat or against the cage he might have the skills to win. But Rafael Dos Anjos is one of the most impressive fighters that the division has ever had.
Dos Anjos is quickly becoming one of the best lightweights of all time. He is the only man ever to KO the former champion Benson Henderson. He was able to outwork Nate Diaz for 3 rounds. A Fighter known for their pressure and cardio. He nullified Anthony Pettis’ strengths, and when Cowboy tried to charge him. He knocked him out. Some would say the Rafael hasn’t faced a wrestler like Alvarez before, and when he has fought a wrestler like Nugamedov he has lost. The other factor to think about coming into this fight is that Rafael is coming off an injury that forced him to cancel his fight with Featherweight champion Conor Mcgregor. Still even with all of that I would not count Rafael out. He is a well rounded fighter who started off primarily as a jiu jitsu fighter but over the years and his many fights and experience he has transitioned into a full martial artist capable of defending the takedown and barraging you with strikes. It is going to be rough gritty night for him though if Eddie can get him on his back for more than half the rounds.
My pick for Eddie Alvarez vs Rafael dos Anjos is Rafael by TKO. I appreciate and respect Alvarez’s skill but I don’t think he has ever fought a fighter as well rounded as Dos Anjos. It is not a definitive pick. But I would stay away from betting on this fight. The risk that Dos Anjos could lose is always there and it’s not worth betting on a favorite. Eddie as an underdog seems like a long shot even though he does have the tools to win this fight. But he has to want it. He has to think it is his destiny when he steps in that cage. Because Rafael Dos Anjos isn’t going to let him just push him against the cage for a victory. He will have to dig deep and give it everything that he has to overcome. It will be hard for Eddie Alvarez to win anything but a decision in this fight. But hey, anything can happen in MMA.
It will never end for these fighters. Whoever wins on July 7th is lining himself up to be the next champ with a target on their belt. There are many fighters waiting for their chance to be king. When you where the number 1 head band you can never rest. To be the champ you need to want it more than anything. For the lightweight division I think the clash of kings will never end.
What do you guys think? Who’s gonna win. Does Eddie deserve the shot? Who should be next in the light weight division? Comment here or Tweet @MMAFanJesse.
Until next time MMA NERDZ. Valar Morghulis