Michael Chandler, who currently owns the Bellator lightweight strap, is 1-1 across two bouts with reigning UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez. As such, Chandler’s commentary on Alvarez’s looming title fight with Conor McGregor is especially interesting.
“There are some obvious chinks in both of their armor,” Chandler explained. “Eddie has a suspect chin, but he always comes back and fights. He never gets finished. I think I’m the only guy in this sport to finish him and that was by a choke. He gets hit in his fights and plays it off, and comes back and wins a lot of his fights.”
“Conor, if he doesn’t finish you in the first or second round, his confidence dwindles, his kind of braggadocios posturing, getting in your face, all that kind of stuff kind of goes away and he turns into a flat-footed zombie out there. I think Eddie can take advantage of that cause Eddie stays good, basic, composed and confident from the first bell to the last. So I think Eddie wins the fight by decision, and the last couple rounds for sure are going to be in his favor.”
Despite his confidence in Alvarez, Chandler also added that the UFC lightweight champ would be wise to use his wrestling and avoid prolonged exchanges on the feet with McGregor.
“It wouldn’t be a smart game plan to go out there and strike with Conor the whole time,” Chandler said. “There’s no secret that his left hand has dynamite in it – with 145 pounders. Nate Diaz is known for his great chin but he’s been dropped numerous times in his career and he got dropped by Conor. Aside from that, Conor has knocked out a lot of guys but they’ve all been 145-pounders, and Nate Diaz is just a 155-pounder.”
“It’d be ill advised to go out there and just turn it into a straight up striking match, as well as fighting at Conor’s distance and range,” Chandler continued. “The movement in which [Conor] fights is different than most guys. He’s unpredictable and he’s unorthodox. You gotta get in his face, put the pressure on him, touch his legs, make him feel that pressure of the wrestling, make him feel that pressure that if he does get taken down, he’s not that good on the ground.”
“That’s definitely one of the chinks in Conor’s armor, and Eddie’s going to have to exploit that, and in the later rounds use his hands and use his technical boxing to put hands on Conor.”
So, Chandler seems to be of the opinion that, so long as Alvarez fights smart and avoids McGregor’s power for the first few rounds, this is his fight to win. Do you agree or disagree? Sound off, PENN nation!