Interesting match up, both guys are the same height – 5ft 9, but Alvarez is much larger – similar frame but almost bodybuilder-esk.
I think Alvarez will try and smother McGregor, like he did in his (dodgy) victory over Pettis.
I’ve seen Eddie fight against Cowboy Cerone and Pettis.
Cerone made him look like a one dimensional striker – offering up only looping punches inside the pocket.
His victory against Pettis was pretty dull and unimpressive too. It was a bit like watching Robbie Savage or Lucas Radebe man mark Gianfranco Zola out of a game. He stopped Pettis’ offence, but didn’t really do a great amount of damage himself either.
A likely tactic will be for Alvarez to bridge distance and swarm McGregor with punches as a counter to a kick, and look to push him against the fence, slow him down, and tire him out.
McGregor’s Keys to Victory
– Set up kicks with punches to get Alvarez on the back foot. If he throws wild kicks without any set up, this may give Alvarez the chance to take him down, or push him up against the fence
– Work defence and counters off the fence. He needs to win the ‘battle of the heads’ – get his head push against Alvarez’s, and lower than Alvarez’s. He also needs to use his underhook to try and spin off the fence
– Alvarez will want to ‘get in the pocket’ and use looping punches (and probably takedowns). McGregor must obviously circle, stay at ‘kicking-range’ (where he can also land straight punches) and even stiff-arms against the chin – an old-school technique used by Crocop in Pride to stop takedowns and clinches.
Josh Barnet countering a body lock with a push against Roy Nelson’s chin:
– The Dart / Switchstep right jab, into right hook An increasingly popular technique in MMA-striking is to bridge distance with a right cross (from orthodox stance), that morphs into a right jab – as you step forwards into it.
Eddie uses this and follows up with a right hook. Something to look out for as Conor tries to keep the fight at kicking and ‘jab – cross’ punching range.
Eddie also likes to move fighters to his right, before throwing his big right hook.
He does this by moving his lead foot, outside his opponent’s lead foot, making them circle to his right to re-align and ‘square up’ again.
– Punches Vs Elbows Jon Jones has shown on several occasions how elbows can ‘beat’ looping punches at close range.
This could be a key to defending against and countering Alvarez’s blitz of powerful hooks and uppercuts
– Size difference. Alvarez is the bigger and stronger fighter, but it’s Conor that has looked like he has suspect cardio – maybe because of the jump in weight, but it will be interesting to see what happens if the fight ends up in the later rounds.
McGregor dominated Diaz in the early rounds of both their fights – well first round anyway, but when the KO didn’t happen, he started to struggle. McGregor has also predicted a first round KO. Hopefully Conor will come in at a comfortable weight, that he can fight at for 5 rounds, without gassing.
–Counter punching. Conor normally likes to counter, and Alvarez is normally quite an aggressive fighter.
I think this may be one of those annoying fights, where neither guy wants to initiate the striking. Conor could use ‘feeler’ punches to try and draw a punch from Alvarez, and then countering.
See ‘Attack by Drawing’ in Bruce Lee’s 5 Ways of Attack –
Get a counter puncher to open up, by throwing a feeler punch first…then a power-punch
…I’m predicting a decision win for Alvarez.
I can see McGregor KOing him straight away as well, he’s technically a much better striker, but if Alvarez can bridge the distance and take him down or push him against the fence, I think McGregor will tire pretty quickly.