UA-59049186-1 UFC Fight Night 90 Preview - Good if it Goes

UFC Fight Night 90 Preview

To start off this week of stellar UFC cards, we get a big Lightweight title fight when Rafael dos Anjos defends his title against #2 ranked Lightweight, Eddie Alvarez. This fight is a long time coming for Eddie Alvarez, who has been fighting in MMA since after graduating High School. Eddie Alvarez has been a top ranked Lightweight for almost 10 years now despite not fighting in the UFC until 2014. He has won championships in every organization he’s been a part of prior to signing with the UFC, and has beaten the best fighters all over the world including fighters like Shinya Aoki, Michael Chandler, Tatsyua Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen, and Pat Cuuran among others. But the one thing that has eluded him despite nearly a decade of making a name for himself all over the word, is achieving greatness in the top organization in MMA. This Thursday night, Eddie Alvarez has a chance to add another belt to his collection, but not only any belt, the most prestigious belt that can possibly be in his collection. For Eddie, this will top off a journey culminating 13 years, to finally be able to claim that he is the best Lightweight in the world.

When Eddie left Bellator as the champion back in 2014, he refused to take any warmups or easy fights because he wanted to jump right into the shark tank and take on the best fighters available in the Lightweight division. Although he suffered a setback in his first fight in the UFC against title challenger Donald Cerrone, he was able to notch his first win against his long time rival, Gilbert Melendez. Despite both Melendez and Alvarez spending the majority of their careers outside of the UFC, prior to that fight they had never fought each other despite calling each other out for years, despite being the two best Lightweights in the world not fighting for the UFC. Ironically, they would settle their differences at UFC 188, where Eddie despite suffering trouble early, and having his right eye swollen shut, mounted a comeback and rallied in the last 2 rounds to beat Melendez by split decision. He put on an excellent display of grit and the heart of a champion to pull out that win. After that fight Eddie would go on to challenge former UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, in his first fight back since losing the title. Eddie fought a smart, although not a truly crowd pleasing style. He displayed his wrestling ability, pressed the action to Pettis and controlled the fight, squeaking out another close decision and thus finally earning what he’d fought his entire career for, a shot at the UFC Lightweight championship.

As for dos Anjos, he has had a little different journey to this fight. After defending his title in dominant fashion at UFC on FOX 17, it was announced that he was slated to defend his Lightweight title against the current UFC Featherweight Champion, Conor McGregor. In what was supposed to go down as a super fight and on the verge of cashing out on the biggest money fight of his career, he would have to pull out of the fight eleven days prior due to a foot injury. Now, after missing the boat on that big money fight, dos Anjos is now forced to defend his title on a Fight Night card. It’s unfortunate for dos Anjos, going from what was supposed to be the biggest payday of his career, in a mega fight with the top star of the company, to now main eventing a Fight Night. That’s how the fight game is, though. Despite being a great fighter and a champion, dos Anjos doesn’t have any marketability in the company’s eyes, and it seems as if this will be his 2nd difference he defends on a Fight Night.

As far as how I think the fight will go down, dos Anjos will have the size advantage. As one of the bigger fighters in the division, dos Anjos knows how to use his size to the best of his advantage, as he displayed when he defeated Anthony Pettis. But, if any fighter knows how to deal with a disadvantage and adversity, it’s Eddie Alvarez. dos Anjos will put Eddie in uncomfortable positions but Eddie won’t break mentally and can adjust better than any fighter. But with how dominant dos Anjos has looked against Pettis and Cerrone in his last two fights, it’s hard for me to bet against him and thus my prediction is a decision win for him.

Also on the card, is a big heavyweight fight which promises fireworks. Whenever both Roy Nelson and Derrick Lewis fight it’s guaranteed to be a barn burner. With both fighting each other? I recommend not blinking during this fight because I expect someone to go lights out in the first round. Since Roy Nelson won the Ultimate Fighter he has become a favorite for the casual fans and die hard fans alike. Whats not to like about Roy? He’s charismatic, entertaining, hits like a semi-truck and his body type doesn’t quite fit the “requirement” of what a top level MMA fighter looks like. What fans like about him most are his performances in the cage. You would be hard pressed to find a boring Roy Nelson fight (Frank Mir and Jared Rosholt fights aside), as Roy tends to throw game plans out the door and turns any fight into a slobberknocker. Even in losing efforts he has gained fans because of his rock solid chin, the Junior Dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum fights being perfect examples of this. Even though Roy Nelson is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie, rarely do you ever see him utilize his ground game. At the end of the day, Roy loves to brawl and give the fans what they pay to see, which is why he has been a part of the organization for a better part of 7 years, even while sustaining losing skids.

And what better fighter for Roy Nelson to bring his brawling style against than rising Heavyweight knock-out artist Derrick Lewis, another brawler who tends to put on a show for the fans. Derrick Lewis is another fighter with an electric personality, and is starting to make a name for himself with a string of brutal knock out wins. Lewis especially put his name on the map and opened eyes when he knocked out seasoned veteran, and former UFC Heavyweight Championship title challenger, Gabriel Gonzaga, a win that put the heavyweight division on notice that Lewis is someone they need to look out for. The polar opposite of Roy “Big Country” Nelson, Derrick Lewis looks like the stereotypical MMA fighter. He’s big, muscular and intimidating looking, but outside of the cage, his personality comes off as an outgoing goofball. But once the bell rings, Derrick Lewis is looking to take your head off and he’s proven that he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger as 14 of his 15 wins have been by knockout.

I’m predicting the veteran Roy Nelson to come out on top of this. When it comes to brawls like this is promised to be, it’s really hard to bet against Big Country. He’s made a career of winning these kind of fights with his granite chin and power that can knock anyone and anything out. Although I do feel Derrick Lewis has potential to be a superstar, he has a lot of holes in his game and is still a raw prospect at this point. I expect Roy to knock out Derrick in the 2nd round. But it will be a great fight to watch either way.

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