clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rashad Evans: Eddie Alvarez could have 'landslide' victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 205

New, comments
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Wrestling will be Eddie Alvarez's key in defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 205. At least that's what Rashad Evans believes.

Evans, who's a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has cemented himself as one of the top MMA analysts in the game, providing high-level analysis and opinions for Fox Sports 1. Recently, the former champion talked to MMA Fighting about the highly anticipated main event of UFC 205 – Alvarez vs. McGregor.

"This is a very interesting matchup," Evans said. "This is a fight where Conor can really thrive in because in these weight classes, 155, 145, he's the bigger fighter and he'll be able to use that long reach and that movement that he has to land that big left hand, and that's what made him so impressive at the 145 weight class. He's so big and he gives an illusion that he's a lot closer than he is and he pulls back when you can't hit him, but he can hit you, and that's when he lands that big shot. Now, Eddie Alvarez falls in that range where Conor is going to be bigger than him, so he's going to have to throw combinations to get inside to be able to catch Conor because Conor pulls back. Sometimes, you know, he moves his feet, but for the most part he pulls back. But if you throw combinations of two to three punches or even a four punch combination, you're going to catch him because Conor doesn't really lean that far back, and that's what Eddie needs to do to catch Conor in the fight."

Although Evans believes there is a recipe to successfully strike with McGregor, most of McGregor's opponents haven't been able to implement it against him, and with McGregor's powerful left hand, it's still dangerous to exchange with the Irishman even with the right strategy. That's why Evans believes that Alvarez should wrestle McGregor to improve his chances of wining.

"I think that he [Alvarez] could stand with him [McGregor], but to be honest, to make it a fight that he could have a landslide victory I think he needs to wrestle with him," Evans explained. "I think that that's one area in Conor's game that is definitely a weakness, you know. And you have a guy in Conor who has that kind of power, [so] even if you can exchange with him and beat him on the stand up, the best thing to do is not risk it at all, not risk it that much, you know what I'm saying. Every time you go into a fight you're going to risk something, but if you don't have to risk that much by him [not] catching you, that's even better. So if he can go in there and land a couple of takedowns and work on that kind of fatigue on Conor, then, when he gets back up to his feet, he's going to have a different Conor to exchange with."

Evans is confident that Alvarez will be able to implement a combination of striking and grappling to defeat McGregor and defend his lightweight belt on Nov. 12. And much of that confidence relies on a man behind the scenes.

"I have to go with Eddie Alvarez," Evans said. "I like Mark Henry in the equation, Mark Henry his striking coach. One thing about Mark Henry is that he's big on combination punches to transition to the wrestling and to go from combinations to transition to wrestling and back to punches again. That's what you have to do to beat a guy like Conor because Conor knows that if a guy gets him down, it makes it a much difficult fight [for him]. Can he [McGregor] get back up to his feet? Yes, he's shown he can get back up to his feet. Can he [McGregor] survive on the ground? Yes, he can survive on the ground. But he [McGregor] knows that he doesn't want to get taken down, so if he [Alvarez] can do punch combinations to a shot and back to combinations, he can get Conor."