UFC on Fox: Alvarez vs. Poirier II Pick
When: Saturday, July 28, 2018
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
by Scott of Predictem.com
The UFC returns to Calgary with a nice card, headlined by a top 155-pound bout, with ranked contenders Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier fighting a high-stakes rematch in the lightweight division. This July 28 bout stems from a controversial May 2017 fight between the two, declared a no-contest when Alvarez landed illegal knees to a downed Poirier in what had been a frenetic brawl up to that point. The referee deemed the blows were accidental. Poirier had been doing very well up until that point and looks for what would be a big win in this bout. Who will come out on top in Alvarez-Poirier II.
Eddie Alvarez, 29-5 (16 KOs, 7 Submissions), (+130) vs. Dustin Poirier, 23-5 (12 KOs, 6 Submissions), (-150)
Former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez takes on veteran contender Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC on Fox on July 28. This rematch features a pair of battlers who have been around and seen it all. Alvarez, a former champion, turned pro nearly 15 years ago. He has won titles in Bellator and the UFC and remains as dangerous as they come, even at 34 with a lot of mileage on his tires. Poirier, still only 29, has fought 20 times in the UFC and is in the midst of a nice little career-renaissance with only one loss in his last nine fights against good opposition. This should be an entertaining main event if the first fight is any indication. Who comes out on top?
Alvarez joined the UFC rather late in his career and didn’t get off to the best start. But wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis led to a title shot against Rafael dos Anjos, which Alvarez won by first-round TKO. He came up short in a big fight against Conor McGregor in 2016, before the no-contest against Poirier and a subsequent KO win over tough Justin Gaethje. This is his first fight in 2018 and after some demanding bouts, perhaps the relaxed pace will be good for him. The warrior has been competing at a high level for a long time.
Poirier has come a far way in a career where he has shined, without quite getting over the hump. Also a former victim of McGregor, Poirier has been nearly perfect in the 4 years since that loss, other than one punch he took from Michael Johnson in 2016. Two straight wins, against Pettis and Gaethje, show he belongs near the top. Exactly how close to the top will be shown in this fight. Granted, the first fight was abruptly truncated with knees to a still-grounded Poirier, but he was starting to get through in the second round and a winning path seemed to be there for him. He was moving well, showing good angles and keeping one step ahead of Alvarez. His leg kicks seemed to be resonating. And when he connected solidly, it definitely registered. He threatened with a choke, was taking Alvarez’ shots well, and was lighting up the former champion and had him right on the precipice.
Counting out Alvarez on the basis on that second round could be a mistake. Alvarez now fully fathoms the magnitude of who he is facing. Poirier is a full load and maybe Alvarez slept on him a bit. He was dog-tough as always against Poirier and was standing up to a full onslaught. Alvarez showed against Gaethje in his last fight that he still has the stomach for a war. There aren’t any fighters who have more heart and fighting spirit than Alvarez. With some of the nicest hands in the division and a good overall striking and wrestling game, not to mention vast experience, Alvarez should be in prime mental and physical shape for this bout. The top of the lightweight division is crowded and the winner stands to gain a lot in this fight.
It’s not easy to say who the five-round distance favors. And with both fighters having scored a high percentage of stoppage wins, it might not even come down to that. Both are veterans, but with more championship appearances in the UFC and Bellator, Alvarez is more accustomed to the five-round distance. Having not gone past the third round in five years, however, it’s not clear if that’s going to be any kind of edge in this fight.
Unquestionably, Poirier had Alvarez in some trouble in their first fight. How much that matters is up in the air. Alvarez hung in there with things going completely Poirier’s way and even managed to end fight-changing blows, albeit illegal ones. It still shows that even when things were going south, he was still in the fight. If the tables are turned, will Poirier be able to brave through the stormy passages? Alvarez was utterly dominant in his KO win over Gaethje in his last fight, more so than Poirier was against the same opponent five months later. That type of MMA logic doesn’t always hold water, certainly not when the two men in question have actually fought before. It’s just more food for thought in what is a complex equation.
This should again be a stand-up battle and it’s hard to imagine both men getting through 25 minutes of that. Potential Alvarez backers should take note of the first fight, namely how Poirier was out-positioning him and seemed to have him on the verge. But in terms of overall durability, the nod might go to Alvarez. At an underdog price, I think a position on Alvarez can be wholly substantiated in this spot. I’m taking Eddie Alvarez.
My Pick to Win: I’m betting on Eddie Alvarez at +130 betting odds. In what should be another war, pinning down a result can be tough. But at this price, getting a proven warrior like Alvarez in what could be a battle of attrition could be the right move. Bet your Alvarez/Poirier prediction for FREE by taking advantage of a HUGE 50% bonus on your first deposit at Bovada Sportsbook!