Following a 20-month layoff, the former UFC champion faced off with recent ONE lightweight title challenger Iuri Lapicus in a fight that could have potentially propelled Alvarez into his own shot at gold in the Asian-based promotion. Instead, Alvarez will go home with a disqualification loss on his record after Lapicus was unable to continue following punches that were deemed illegal by the referee.
The end came in rather quick fashion in the opening round after Alvarez secured a takedown and started unloading with strikes on Lapicus on the ground. As Lapicus turned his head in order to avoid the barrage of shots, Alvarez just continued to unload on him as he looked for the finish.
Unfortunately, Lapicus grabbed the back of his head as he fell to the mat as the referee paused the action while admonishing Alvarez for landing the illegal shots. Alvarez disagreed that the shots he landed were illegal but after Lapicus was unable to continue, the referee raised a red card, which signifies a disqualification in ONE Championship.
“Iuri was turning his head the other way and the referee warned me, he said to me ‘back of the head, Eddie.,” Alvarez explained after the fight. “So you see me take my head and I start shoving his head towards my punch. You’ll see it in the tape. When the ref warns me, I take my own head and I push Iuri’s to the side of the punch that it was coming. On top of that, I felt like as long as I’m hitting the ear at some point that it’s legal.”
“The referee’s here, whatever call he makes, that’s the call. I apologize. I hope Iuri is totally fine cause this game is so dangerous. All I care about is that everybody in here sincerely is safe and can go home to their family when they’re done. I’m praying for Iuri right now.”
There was no further update on Lapicus’ condition after the fight was stopped.
It’s a tough ending for Alvarez, who looked to kick off the first ever ONE Championship card on primetime in the United States in exciting fashion but instead he’ll go home with a disqualification loss to Lapicus on his record.