Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight talents Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier will clash TONIGHT (July 28, 2018) at UFC on FOX 30 inside Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
It’s rather rare that we see a rematch without first having a winner from the initial bout, but such is the case with Alvarez and Poirier’s “No Contest” back in 2017. Since then, the men have walked fairly similar paths. Alvarez became the first man to defeat Justin Gaethje in a truly incredible performance, one that rejuvenated his title hopes. Poirier accomplished that difficult task of dispatching “The Highlight” as well, albeit after Alvarez, but he also scored a big win over Anthony Pettis previous to that bout.
The rematch is the only fight that makes sense for both men, and it guarantees the victor an opportunity to be leapfrogged by Conor McGregor for the Lightweight title shot.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man.
Record: 29-5 (1)
Key Wins: Rafael dos Anjos (UFC Fight Night 90), Justin Gaethje (UFC on FOX 29), Anthony Pettis (UFC Fight Night 81), Michael Chandler (Bellator 106), Gilbert Melendez (UFC 188), Shinya Aoki (Bellator 66)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC 205), Donald Cerrone (UFC 178), Michael Chandler (Bellator 58)
Keys to Victory: An all-time great Lightweight who has captured the belt of every major organization he has competed in, Alvarez is a hard-hitting boxer with great counter punching. When the situation is called for it, Alvarez is also willing to grit his teeth and brawl or grind for ugly takedowns.
Just as a warning, much of what is talked about below in both Alvarez’s and Poirier’s keys to victory sections was also covered in their respective technique highlight videos.
For both men, the goal is to draw the other into powerful counter shots. In Alvarez’s case, that means his movement and range striking has to be better than Poirier’s left cross/left kick double threat, a tactic of “The Diamond” the troubled Alvarez greatly last time out.
To negate that, Alvarez has to do a better job of landing kicks at range. He kicked more actively in that bout, but Alvarez threw to the head too much. He’d be far better off going to the body or especially the lead leg of Poirier, which would interrupt Poirier’s own kicks and give Alvarez a chance to breathe.
In addition, Alvarez needs to avoid falling into his right hand, which opened up counters from the Louisiana-native in the first bout. Instead, Alvarez would be better off mixing jabs into his hand-fighting or digging his right hand to the body. If he can keep his feet moving while landing good shots, Poirier will increase his aggression, and that’s what Alvarez wants.
Record: 23-5 (1)
Key Wins: Justin Gaethje (UFC on FOX 29), Anthony Pettis (UFC Fight Night 120), Joseph Duffy (UFC 195), Bobby Green (UFC 199), Carlos Diego Ferrira (UFC Fight Night 63)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC 178), Michael Johnson (UFC Fight Night 94), Cub Swanson (UFC on FUEL TV 7), Chan Sung Jung (UFC on FUEL TV 3)
Keys to Victory: Poirier has a well-deserved reputation as one of Lightweight’s fiercest power punchers. In addition, Poirier is a quality offensive wrestler with a nasty top game and legitimate submission skills.
DUSTIN POIRIER VIDEO
Damn near everything went perfectly for Poirier in the first bout right until he tired to finish Eddie Alvarez. His left kicks were jamming the boxer up, making him desperate, and causing him to lunge into Poirier’s own left hand. It was similar to the disastrous Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez fight — perfect for Poirier.
Then, he rocked Alvarez, was drawn into a brawl, and suddenly the tables turned a bit.
With that in mind, Poirier’s strategy is largely simple: stick to what worked. If he can hang back behind his jab, cross, and left kicks, the pressure is on Alvarez to adjust away from his usual approach.
Bottom Line: The winner deserves a title shot. Will he receive one? At the moment, it seems unlikely since McGregor is now able to return. That’s absurdly unfair, and likely means the victor faces another incredibly difficult fight before earning a title shot — someone along the lines of Kevin Lee or Tony Ferguson.
There is a silver lining at least. There is bad blood, and each man should be more than motivated to pulverize the other. Furthermore, McGregor returning is not a certain thing with an exact time frame. There’s still a chance negotiations stall or McGregor does something else stupid outside of the cage, leaving a path to the title for tonight’s winner.
At UFC on FOX 30, Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier will face off for the second time. Which man will see his hand raised?
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