Welcome to Keys to Victory, a place on the internet to get analysis on how mixed martial artists can win big fights. In this edition, we’re taking a look at the main event to UFC Fight Night 90, a lightweight title bout between champ Rafael dos Anjos and challenger Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez is a pretty solid underdog, while RDA is a good favorite across the board, but we’re looking at both fighters’ options.
Work the Body and Legs
Dos Anjos is a pressure fighter that loves to work a high pace. Alvarez fights in a similar style at times, but his best option is to slow down RDA first. Alvarez has decent leg kicks and pretty slick boxing. He needs to focus more on the body punches and low kicks instead of head hunting, otherwise, dos Anjos will just stalk him down.
While it is a dangerous prospect to take down a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt like RDA, Alvarez should at least threaten to take down his opponent. Even if he simply gets double legs and backs away, that not only slows down dos Anjos, but saps Rafael’s energy throughout the fight. Of course, if Alvarez can advance ground position on RDA to avoid sweeps and submission attempts, all the better, but Eddie’s takedowns should mostly be used as a distraction.
Rafael dos Anjos
Alvarez might have better boxing overall, but dos Anjos has a devastating straight left hand. RDA fights a high-pressure style and his body kicks, plus the left hand will keep Alvarez on his back foot instead of being able to set up his own offense.
Smothering Ground Game
Dos Anjos, not unlike Alvarez, should look for takedowns. It will not only neutralize Alvarez’s striking abilities, but also drain Eddie’s energy. RDA might not see the same success against Alvarez as he did in his fight with Pettis, but if dos Anjos can keep Alvarez backed up against the fence, he can at least wear down Eddie.
You can watch Eddie Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos potentially utilize these game plans in their lightweight title match in the main event of UFC Fight Night 90. The event, which kicks off Fight Week, will be entirely on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 10 p.m. ET.