Eddie Alvarez suffered a devastating loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC 178, a loss so devastating the UFC faithful are all but throwing in the towel on Alvarez’s UFC run.
Those fans need to calm down. Alvarez will be fine and he will most definitely challenge for the UFC title before his time with the promotion is done. The loss to Cerrone was definitely a significant setback for the last Bellator Lightweight Champion, but with a solid two to three wins in a row he will be right back in title contention.
First, Alvarez has the skill set to give any lightweight in the UFC problems. While Cerrone did expose some holes in his defensive striking, Alvarez has a great team around him in Boca Raton, Florida that will make sure those holes are shored up before his next Octagon appearance. Outside of that, Alvarez’s striking game is second to none. The Philadelphia born fighter possesses brutal knockout power and great technical boxing that can give any lightweight fits. In the first round of his fight against Cerrone, Alvarez utilized extremely effective dirty boxing to nearly put away “Cowboy.” Should Alvarez showcase more offense like that in his next bout, he will undoubtedly put away his opponent in minutes.
Second, Alvarez has a budding rivalry with current number one contender Gilbert Melendez. Should Melendez defeat Pettis for the Lightweight championship later this year, a bout with Alvarez would be an easy sell. The feud between both men goes back to when Melendez was competing for Strikeforce and Alvarez for Bellator. A superfight between the promotion’s two lightweight champions was briefly in talks but fell apart before significant progress was made. Both men have accused the other of being the reason why the fight never happened, but no definitive answer has been given. What could be better for the UFC than selling this grudge match in a UFC title bout?
Last, Alvarez has a fan friendly style that is perfect for promoting a title bout. Alvarez has finished twenty-one of his twenty-five wins and has been involved in multiple fight of the year candidates. When fans think about who they want to see challenge for a title, they want someone who is more than the number one contender, they want a fighter who can make them feel confident in spending sixty bucks to watch the fight. Alvarez is one of the few fighters in the world who has that sort of aura surrounding him.
What’s next for Alvarez has yet to be announced, but it will likely be against a fellow top lightweight (Benson Henderson, anyone?). Should Alvarez pass that test with flying colors he will be well on his way to a lightweight title shot.
Not a bad situation for a guy who is 0-1 in the UFC to find himself in.