Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has a new professional home with Asian-based ONE Championship after completing his contract with the UFC. We look back at the career of ‘The Underground King’ and highlight his top 5 fights thus far in his career.
Bellator 12: Eddie Alvarez vs. Toby Imada - June 19, 2009
Though fighting for local promotions in his early career in New Jersey, plus with the likes of Bodog and ShoXC, Alvarez gained notoriety in North America by fighting for Bellator since their inaugural event in April 2009, succeeding his stint in Japan with Dream. After getting through the first two rounds of the lightweight tournament, Alvarez had the chance of becoming Bellator’s first lightweight champion.
After an even first round, Alvarez dropped Imada with heavy right, immediately gaining the mount. Transitioning to the back, Alvarez sinks the rear-naked choke in forcing Imada to tap just 38 seconds into the second round, making Alvarez the inaugural Bellator lightweight champion.
Bellator 66: Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki 2 - April 20, 2012
Alvarez suffered his first loss at 155 lbs, his natural weight class, submitting to Japanese grappling legend Shinya Aoki at Dream/K-1’s year-end Dynamite show in 2008. At Bellator 66, Alvarez had earned his chance for revenge against ‘Tobikan Judan.’ Just two minutes into the fight, Alvarez catches Aoki with a short right to drop him and finishing with strikes on the ground.
Bellator 106: Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler 2 - November 2, 2013
At Bellator 58, Alvarez had a disastrous opening round, getting knocked down twice, before eventually losing a back-and-forth fight, submitting to Michael Chandler in the fourth round, giving Alvarez his first loss in Bellator and losing his lightweight title in the process.
Following 2012 wins over Aoki and Patricky Pitbull, Alvarez accepted an eight-fight contract with UFC. However, Bellator had the option of matching the deal, which they decided to pursue. Alvarez refused to sign Bellator’s matching clause feeling the offer did not exactly match the contract with UFC, resulting in lawsuits between Bellator and Alvarez, putting Alvarez out of action for over a year. After settling with Bellator in summer 2013, Alvarez was cleared for his return and scheduled to take on Chandler in a rematch for the title. After a close five rounds, Alvarez was declared winner by split decision and regained his Bellator lightweight title.
UFC Fight Night Vegas: Eddie Alvarez vs. Rafael dos Anjos - July 7, 2016
Alvarez had officially signed with the UFC in August 2014. After losing his promotional debut, Alvarez defeated former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and former WEC/UFC champion Anthony Pettis in to earn a crack at gold. Alvarez was scheduled to face Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night Vegas, the first of three UFC fight cards to be held for UFC International Fight Week of 2016.
Just over midway through the first round, Alvarez lands a huge right hook which visibly wobbles Dos Anjos. Alvarez continued his flurry for the next minute, finally getting referee Herb Dean to intervene, making Alvarez the first man to hold titles in both Bellator and UFC.
UFC 218: Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje - December 2, 2017
“I’m the most violent man in the UFC. They can take the number-1, 2 and 3. I’ll just take that title, and I’ll keep it. I’ve been crowned.”
After not being able to rebook a fight with Dustin Poirier following their No Contest at UFC 211, Eddie Alvarez turned his eyes towards Justin Gaethje who was fresh off his Fight of the Year with Michael Johnson in his debut for the UFC.
In July 2017, Alvarez and Justin Gaethje were named coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 26, which was to crown an inaugural women’s flyweight champion. Alvarez and Gaethje were scheduled to face off at UFC 218 in Detroit.
In fourteen minutes, Alvarez and Gaethje traded 277 significant strikes. Gaethje looked to press the action to slow down Alvarez, landing 37 leg kicks in the process. Late into the third round, Alvarez puts Gaethje into a clinch, and launches heavy knee toward his head. Gaethje immediately crumples to the ground, as Alvarez pounces for follow-up blows. Referee Herb Dean calls off the action and Alvarez earns the title as ‘Most Violent Man.’