Eddie Alvarez is a man on a mission heading into Saturday’s UFC 205 extravaganza. The working class, Philadelphia-based fighter has a clear gameplan for opponent Conor McGregor, and he plans to execute it flawlessly.
Alvarez, a former two-time Bellator lightweight champion who seized UFC gold at UFC Fight Night 90, is planning to exploit what he believes is McGregor’s biggest weakness: Grappling.
The champ, though, is also looking to strike with ‘The Notorious’ and land a big blow early.
“I think I’m going to land that big shot,” Alvarez told the media after his UFC 205 open workout session on Wednesday (h/t Chuck Mindenhall of MMA Fighting). “I think this guy’s worried about a lot of grappling and a lot of wrestling. I think where it’s going to end up, when his mind’s on that I’m going to land that big shot and then I’m going to submit him.”
“It’s gonna be high-paced, it’s gonna be violent and we’re not going five,” Alvarez told Submission Radio. “We damn sure ain’t going five (rounds). We’ll probably win in two and a half, three (rounds).”
McGregor, the featherweight champion, has been criticized for favorable stylistic matchups throughout his UFC tenure. The Dubliner has primarily fought strikers, but proved to be the full package when he shut out wrestling powerhouse Chad Mendes in 2015.
In his first welterweright contest with Nate Diaz, though, at UFC 196, McGregor was submitted in the second round via rear-naked choke. The floodgates for criticism opened, but the SBG Ireland product honed his craft for the rematch at UFC 202 and beat Diaz via majority decision.
Alvarez will put McGregor’s grappling to the test again at UFC 205, where he fights the Irishman in a champion vs champion superfight in the main event. The pay-per-view takes place on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.