Alvarez waited a long time to make his UFC debut. The 30-year-old mixed martial arts veteran agreed to the terms of a UFC contract after fulfilling his Bellator deal in October 2012, but Bellator opted to exercise their right to match the offer to keep the fighter. Alvarez then entered a legal battle with the organization. They reached an agreement and he remained with Bellator until he was granted an unconditional release in August. He was quickly picked up by the UFC and lined up Cerrone in the UFC 175 co-main event.
Cerrone utilized his reach advantage to keep Alvarez on the outside. He landed kicks and knees to the body in the opening moments of the fight. They clinched and Alvarez had his turn, unloading with a flurry of punches. Cerrone freed himself from the clinch, but Alvarez did the most damage in the opening round.
Cerrone continued to work his kicking game in the second frame. He punished Alvarez with kicks and knees to the body. He battered the lead leg of the UFC newcomer with powerful kicks. Alvarez fired back, but had to switch stances to protect his damaged leg. After two rounds, it was all even heading into the final frame.
The third round started as an old-fashioned slugfest. Both fighters stood in the pocket and exchanged. Cerrone landed big shots that hurt Alvarez while continuing to chop away with leg kicks. The damage was apparent and Cerrone continued to target the injured limb. Cerrone opened up with leg kicks and Alvarez collapsed to the canvas. Cerrone followed him to the ground and pepped Alvarez with punches. When the fight ended, it was clear who had won. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Cerrone.
“I apologize for coming out slow, but what are you going to do,” said Cerrone about his performance.
“Cowboy” is a notorious slow starter in fights. He’s worked on fixing the problem, but has come to accept that it’s just the way he fights.
“It’s just the way I am. I can’t figure it out. I’m cursed, so if you’re going to beat me, try and get me in the first,” he said.
After fifteen minutes inside the Octagon against the well-respected Alvarez, Cerrone gave props to his opponent.
“I think that was one of the best Eddies, and that’s who I wanted to fight was the best Eddie,” said the Greg Jackson trained lightweight. “He came, brought it and stood right in the middle and slugged with me. My hat is off to the dude.”
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