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UFC 205: Why Conor McGregor Beats Eddie Alvarez

Here we go again. Another Conor McGregor fight where his detractors will pick apart his grappling skills, his cardio and whatever other reasons they can come up with to convince themselves that he’ll lose. The fact is, though, McGregor continues to back up his world-class trash talk with elite-level performances that make people who bet against him pay. In the biggest, most pressure-filled performance of his life vs Nate Diaz, he proved he has the mental strength to overcome adversity and made the necessary adjustments to even the score with the only man to defeat him in the UFC.

Next up is a new challenge, at a new weight for a title in New York City. After the Nate Diaz experience, I feel that McGregor is the best he’s ever been, both physically and mentally. Here’s why McGregor beats Eddie Alvarez and becomes the new UFC lightweight champion at UFC 205:

Size Matters

McGregor fighting at 170 lbs was arrogant and unnecessary. He’s obviously capable of fighting at 145 lbs, but those weight cuts weren’t pretty. Finally, McGregor will debut at an optimal weight of 155 lbs where he won’t be forced to cut over 25 pounds and at a weight where he doesn’t give up any type of size advantage.

Another edge the Irishman will have in the fight is a five-inch reach advantage. In McGregor’s seven UFC fights prior to the Diaz fights, he had the reach advantage. He went undefeated in those fights and will once again use those extra inches to create space and dictate the pace of the fight. This will be the longest fighter Alvarez has ever faced and as we saw in the Donald Cerrone fight, he struggled with the size disadvantage.

Wrestling Advantage is Overblown

Conor McGregor has never lost a fight in the UFC because of a wrestling disadvantage.

McGregor’s wrestling “disadvantage” has become a go-to reason for picking against him, not just in this fight, but in recent fights as well. Coming into the second Nate Diaz fight, we heard a lot about Diaz’s underrated wrestling skills in analysis leading up to the fight. Diaz attempted to utilize these skills in the fight and it amounted to a whole lot of stuffed takedowns from McGregor and the wrestling ultimately didn’t make a difference.

With Alvarez backers leaning on his wrestling skills as their reason for backing him, let’s dig into some numbers. In Alvarez’s four UFC fights, he’s landed just 29% of his takedown attempts which is the WORST TAKEDOWN PERCENTAGE AMONG THE UFC’S TOP 15 RANKED LIGHTWEIGHTS! You might argue his four fights are a small sample size, but quite simply, the numbers don’t lie.  

Alvarez doesn’t give it as good as he gets it

Alvarez’s striking is hard to knock, especially after his KO of Rafael dos Anjos, but he gets hit A LOT. Since joining the UFC, he’s been outhit in three of his four fights. McGregor will be the best striker he’s ever faced and he won’t have the luxury of taking big risks during striking exchanges. Alvarez is much more than just a brawler, but we’ve seen him resort to those big looping punches and energy-zapping haymakers in an attempt to win a fight. This approach won’t work vs McGregor and he’ll come out on the wrong end every time.

Alvarez lacks the length, technical acumen and accuracy of the Irishman, which will ultimately be the deciding factor in the fight after his wrestling fails.

If for some reason you're still on the fence, Justin Hartling breaks down his reasons for backing Alvarez here.

UFC: Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez Odds

Odds as of November 12 at Bovada

  • Conor McGregor -140
  • Eddie Alvarez +110