Thursday July 7th marks the first event of UFC’s International Fight Week in Las Vegas. The event will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and is only available to watch via UFC Fight Pass. The main event features lightweight champion (C) “RDA” Rafael Dos Anjos vs (#2) Eddie “Underground King” Alvarez for a five round title fight. This will be RDAs first fight since steamrolling “Cowboy” Cerrone in the first round last December. He was slated to fight Conor McGregor in March, but was sidelined due to a foot injury. Eddie Alvarez defeated former lightweight titleholder Anthony Pettis in January for a shot at the title. Both of these fighters defeated Anthony “Showtime” Pettis utilizing a similar gameplan of pressure, grappling, and control to shut done Showtime’s striking prowess.
Rafael Dos Anjos “RDA” (24-7-0) – RDA is 5’9” with a 71” reach, and southpaw with a strong straight left punch and destructive left body kick. He was born in Rio de Janeiro and started training Jiu Jitsu at a young age. He received his black belt at 21 years old and began training MMA under famed Roberto “Gordo” Correa. He currently trains out of Kings MMA under master Rafael Cordeiro with the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Lyoto Machida, and “Shogun” Rua. RDA brings a lot of experience to the cage having fought in the UFC 19 times since his debut in 2008. Although his base is in BJJ, Dos Anjos has worked extensively on his Muay Thai throughout the years. His dedication to martial arts takes him to Thailand each year to train with some of the best strikers in the world.
Eddie “Underground King” Alvarez (27-4-0) – Eddie is 5’9” with a 69” reach. He is an orthodox fighter known impose strong pressure, great boxing and effective wrestling. He is a Philadelphia native who moved to Boca Raton, FL to train with the Blackzilians and Henri Hooft. After a few years in Florida, he has now returned to the Philadelphia to train with former champ Frankie Edgar, coach Mark Henry, and their network of fighters in the area. Although this will only be his fourth fight with the UFC, Eddie has been the Bellator MMA lightweight champion as well as making a name for himself in Japan before that. It has been a long road for Eddie Alvarez to get his UFC title shot after years of legal entanglement with the previous Bellator MMA regime.
The Breakdown – The favorite Rafael Dos Anjos (-400) has shown to come out with early pressure in his fights. His southpaw stance will enable him to inflict some dangerous body kicks to the liver of Alvarez as an orthodox fighter. Alvarez tends to keep his head down when coming in boxing range leaving himself open to dangerous uppercuts from Dos Anjos. I don’t think RDA is used to someone else being the aggressor putting pressure on him. Both fighters have similar styles with Dos Anjos probably having a better submission grappling game and Alvarez taking the boxing and wrestling aspect. The underdog Eddie Alvarez (+340) has shown to be alarmingly susceptible to leg kicks from his opponents. Eddie is brilliant in scrambles and has the opportunity to come out on top in the transition. Eddie is notorious as a slow starter and usually has to take a good blow to wake up.
Fight Picks – Alvarez by TKO. I believe that Eddie Alvarez is a live dog with these odds and has a heart that few can match.