Anthony Pettis vs Eddie Alvarez
BOSTON– Eddie Alvarez made it his objective to get in close versus Anthony Pettis and get him to the floor, even if at times it meant stalling out versus the fence.
It was a technique that paid dividends for Alvarez (27-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the later rounds, as Pettis (18-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) began to wear down in a very close fight, and his performance in the last frame likely sealed the offer by the slimmest of margins, handing Alvarez the win via split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The lightweight bout was the co-main occasion of today’s UFC Fight Night 81 occasion at TD Garden in Boston. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
For Alvarez, the obstacle was in leaving the long-distance kicking variety where Pettis grows and into a gritty battle for position versus the fence. He had a hard time because job at times, as Pettis quit a few early takedowns however refused to let Alvarez get anything begun on the mat, just to shred him with body kicks and right-hand men once the fight went back to the feet.
Still, Alvarez’s ability to suppress Pettis versus the fence and require him to concentrate on defending takedowns rather than attacking with strikes appeared to frustrate the former UFC lightweight champ. Though he had success when he might keep the fight at the variety he chose, he appeared reluctant to open with more than one or two strikes at a time, perhaps out of issue for Alvarez’s takedowns.
In the last frame, Alvarez’s grinding design finally took its toll, as a weary-looking Pettis gave up some critical takedowns and invested too much of the round on his back, with Pettis remaining glued to him on the mat. By the time Pettis finally got back to his feet late in the round, he did not have the energy to go on the attack, providing Alvarez the slight edge he had to win the fight on 2 of the 3 judges’ scorecards.
The win makes it 2 in a row for Alvarez, who hasn’t lost since his UFC launching in September 2014. Pettis has actually now lost two directly, beginning with the consentaneous decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos that cost him his UFC lightweight title last March.