After a legal battle with his former employer Bellator, a thrilling win over Michael Chandler, and nearly a year on the sidelines, Eddie Alvarez will finally make his Octagon debut at UFC 178. Not only is it a big deal for Alvarez, who has been one of the planet’s top lightweights for years outside of ZUFFA, but he’ll take on the promotion’s #5th ranked Donald Cerrone.
Alvarez appeared on the latest edition of FOX Sport’s 1’s “UFC Tonight”, and while discussing his upcoming debut, here is what the 30 year-old had to say about any Octagon jitters (quote via FOX Sports press release):
“No added nerves, just some added excitement. I’ve fought everywhere and I’ve fought some of the best guys in the world. I’ve learned what’s important. The lights don’t bug me anymore. It’s just about me and Donald Cerrone that night.”
Of course, Alvarez could be just saying that, but this is a man who’s certainly fought on the big stage many times as he noted. During his 25-3 career, Alvarez has thrown down for DREAM, K-1, BodogFight and of course, most recently Bellator. He’s also scored wins over established vets like Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta, Pat Curran, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen and the aforementioned Chandler.
In Cerrone, Alvarez will take on one of the UFC’s best finishers, which is likely why the former Bellator champ is expecting a very aggressive affair. When asked for his take on the upcoming, September 27th bout, Alvarez stated:
“It’s a high-paced, violent fight. I try to bring that every time. I throw caution to the wind, like a young guy. You can feel my excitement to the sport. That’s what fans can expect.”
Certainly seems like reasonable expectation no? It has all the makings of a great fight, and while Alvarez has some pressure to perform in his UFC debut, one could make the case Cerrone has more on his shoulders coming in.
Cerrone is riding a four fight win streak, which includes victories over Jim Miller, Edson Barboza, Adriano Martins and Evan Dunham. If he wants to be knocking on the title shot door in 2015, then a win over Alvarez is a must.
In addition, unlike Cerrone, Alvarez isn’t a household name yet with casual MMA fans. If he goes in and takes out Cerrone, well then that’s a hell of introduction. If Alvarez loses, it’s a setback sure, but it’s not catastrophic.
UFC 178 will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will feature flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson taking on Chris Cariaso.