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Eddie Alvarez: Anthony Pettis hasn't evolved, will get exposed at UFC Fight Night 81

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Eddie Alvarez can't understand why some pundits are betting against him in a lightweight, co-main event collision with former UFC champion, Anthony Pettis, at UFC Fight Night 81 this Sunday night (Jan. 17, 2016) inside TD Garden in Boston.

Alvarez, 31, is 1-1 in ZUFFA and coming off a split-decision victory over two-time UFC title challenger, Gilbert Melendez, last June. The Philadelphia native was the 155-pound king of Bellator between 2009-2011 and knows what it's like to fall from a champion's perch, like "Showtime" did when he crumbled against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185.

With that being said, Alvarez is confident (via MMA Fighting) he'll be able to halt the comeback of Pettis in "Beantown":

"It becomes stressful, but you also kind of get a target on your back. Everybody kind of finds out where you're strong, and where you're weak and you're forced to evolve and grow. I think he's had that deep hole for a long time with the wrestling and not being able to defend against them good wrestlers and I think it was a matter of time before it was found out and it's found out. I don't know if a three-month training camp is long enough to be able to fill that hole."

The Roufusport representative was beat up every which way his second title defense went with "RDA" and walked away from American Airlines Center in March 2015 with a broken orbital bone. The injury was the latest setback in a long line of injuries for Pettis, who's had to deal with naysayers during his time out of the limelight.

It turns out the doubters haven't swayed his confidence. Too be fair, though, Pettis recently stated in a separate interview with MMA Fighting that he's been working alongside famed wrestling coach, Izzy Martinez, for his eighth UFC appearance.

Alvarez, meanwhile, went in a different direction as far as training goes for his third UFC tilt, packing up and moving from the Blackzilians in Florida to his hometown of Philly. However, he'll still have renowned striking coach, Henri Hooft, in his corner when the duo collide in Boston, so Alvarez says.

With Pettis mentioning to Ariel Helwani during the UFC "Boston" media day that he would be awarded with a second title shot following a victory over Alvarez, this electric battle carries an extra layer of significance for both talented combatants.

A potential one-way ticket to "Red Panty Night."

For more UFC Fight Night 81 news and notes, including up-to-the-minute live results and play-by-play, click here and here.