Hello all, Bas Rutten here with my first Champions blog. #UFC205 is just a couple days away, so to make my job a little easier, I’ve decided to make my first post a breakdown of the main event. I’ve detailed the paths to victory for each champ, and given my prediction at the end. Enjoy, my friends!
First of all, McGregor needs to keep Alvarez on the outside of his strikes. When Alvarez attacks, he needs to move to the side, right of left, doesn’t matter. He can’t go straight backwards because that’s when he will get pushed up against the cage, and once that happens, IF that happens, he needs to get off the cage ASAP because that is Eddie's cup of tea.
He can stop anybody with strikes on his feet; he has 15 KO victories on his record to show for it, and once he has a takedown, he follows it up with some serious G&P, as well. Let’s not forget his great chokes, especially the rear-naked choke.
McGregor also needs to avoid the clinch, but we’ll get into more on that later.
Why would Alvarez strike with a guy who’s great on his feet while you KNOW you have a better chance with him on his back?
If I was McGregor, I wouldn't use back kicks, or "feeling out" kicks, because those are easier to counter with big strikes and takedowns.
#EddieAlvarez needs to push this fight, but also needs to watch out with attacking straight forward. We saw what McGregor did to Aldo, mainly with precision. Let McGregor lead the attack and then blast forward with a counter would be Eddie’s best option—beat him at his own game.
McGregor is a hard puncher, so he needs to plant his feet when he attacks in order to put his weight into a strike, so THAT would be the best moment to, again, blast forward, and maybe even go for a takedown
Once Alvarez has a clinch he needs to “neck wrestle,” really HANG on McGregor’s neck, because that will not only work Conor’s core and interrupt his breathing pattern, it will also put lactic acid in the core AND in the shoulders, which will slow down his striking game, making him tired faster.
Eddie also should use a lot of feints in striking and in takedowns to keep McGregor constantly guessing. Feints will also reveal the counters that your opponent wants to use, so now you know what you have to watch out for.
In the last two fights, McGregor ran out of gas—the last fight was better than the first one against Diaz, but still, not good enough for five rounds. This is something that you can’t suddenly develop, even when you run hills every day. It’s all about the way you control your breathing during the fight.
Now, if McGregor sparred using the SHARKTANK drill, which is where you have four guys who all attack you for 1.5 minutes each, so THEY are fresh and gunning for you while YOU get more and more tired, and if he can do six or seven rounds—by the way, they are six minute rounds—THAT would help him tremendously, especially when his sparring partners close the distance and press him up against the fence, sort of an imitation of what Alvarez is going to do.
That’s a big IF, though. Alvarez has fought five rounds two times before, so he knows what it feels like.
I know McGregor did five rounds in his last fight, but had a hiccup in the third. I believe if Diaz would have pushed the fight at that moment, he could have won the fight.
I always say that making predictions is harder than most people think, and this one is no different. Although Alvarez can KO everybody early as well, like he did with RDA in his last fight to become the champ, I believe that McGregor will be stronger the first two or three rounds in the striking department. If he can keep Alvarez outside his reach and avoid the clinch, he can maybe stop him, although Eddie hasn’t been stopped by strikes in nine years. Once they come into the championship rounds, I believe Alvarez will win it.
It will be interesting to see who Tony Ferguson is going to fight after his last performance against RDA, hopefully the winner of this fight.
If #ConorMcGregor wins, will he give up his 145lb title? I think he should, so others can fight for it, OR he goes back to that weight class and gives up the 155lb title since, again if he wins, he will be the third guy to hold two belts in two different weight classes, and the first to do it simultaneously. I believe that is the reason that the UFC let him keep his 145lb belt, because he probably asked for this, which is understandable; two belts in two divisions is a very cool accomplishment that won’t be soon forgotten, if ever.
We will all get answers after this weekend, I guess—I HOPE!