Eddie Alvarez is the UFC Lightweight Champion.
In a shocking first round TKO in the main event of UFC Fight Night 90, Alvarez swarmed defending champion Rafael dos Anjos to capture the belt, putting him in the very top spot in the lightweight field for the first time in his career.
Entering the UFC in 2014 as the reigning and vacating Bellator Lightweight Champ, Alvarez dropped a decision to Donald Cerrone in a somewhat short notice bout in his debut. He would win his next two over former Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez and former UFC Champion Anthony Pettis, but those wins came in less than inspiring performances from Alvarez.
That meant few expected what happened on Thursday night in Las Vegas, especially given dos Anjos’ absolutely dominant run. From his win over Benson Henderson, beating Nate Diaz handily, taking the title from Anthony Pettis, and destroying the aforementioned Cerrone, it seemed dos Anjos was poised to stay on top for a considerable time. Instead, he got clipped early in the fight, and Alvarez never let up from there. It was a thrilling, surprising, and wonderfully entertaining victory from Alvarez, who has accomplished the goal he wanted to go after the first time he tried to leave Bellator.
Penick’s Analysis: You can’t say enough good things about what Alvarez did in this fight. Those other, less entertaining fights, well maybe they were indeed due to his opponents not bringing this out in him. We’ve known for years what he can do, it was always a matter of him getting an opportunity against the best, and when he didn’t look as great in those first three UFC bouts it was natural to doubt his chances here. This was a return to form, and suddenly there are a lot of intriguing fights for the new champion at 155 lbs.
[Photo (c) Bob DeChiara via USA Today Sports]
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