by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com

Alvarez Looking to Push into the Top 10




Eddie Alvarez attempts to break into the lightweight
division Top 10 on July 21 as he vies for the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix
title.  He will have to fight twice
that evening in order to become the victor, but that doesn’t seem to bother


Alvarez recently appeared on MMAWeekly Radio and explained
his thoughts and preparations for his semi-final match against Tatsuya


“I’ve been busting my ass and it’s finally here,” said an
elated Alvarez. 


Dream announced the designated match-ups back in June, but he
wasn’t worried about who was his chosen foe.  “I was training either way.  I wasn’t going nuts on who I was
going to fight.  I figured when I
woke up, I’d find out,” revealed the former Bodog champion.


Fighting twice in one night has benefited some fighters and
hindered others.  Staying
injury-free and having enough endurance to proceed has proven to be a challenge
to many mixed martial artists. 
Alvarez believes that his endurance will not fail and he’ll have plenty
to get through the night. 


“I pride myself on my cardio,” he explained.  “I’m a mentally strong fighter.  My cardio is one of my strong
points.  My strength and
conditioning coach has me doing a circuit like I normally do.  Then he has me do an hour break so I
can re-hydrate.  Then we do it
again.  He’s getting me ready for
that fight night so I’m prepared to go through that kind of night.”


Having the potential to fight twice in one night will
sometimes change a fighter’s normal approach to their game plan.  However, Alvarez is not changing
anything in his fight with Kawajiri to prepare himself for his potential night


“I’ll do one fight at a time.  I’m not going to fight any different than I normally fight,”
stated Alvarez.  “I’m going to
fight the first fight and I’m going to fight the same way I’d fight every fight
start to finish and if I gas myself out during the second fight, then I’ll see
where it goes in the second fight.


“I’m not concerned about my second fight.  I want to knock my first guy out.  I want to put him away as soon as
possible.  If that doesn’t happen
and I go a full 15 minutes, then physically and mentally I’ll be prepared to go
two fights.  The second fight I
think will come down to your heart and mind, not your physical body.”


Tatsuya Kawajiri, MMAWeekly’s No. 4 ranked lightweight, is
one of the toughest fighters in the world.  His wrestling is fantastic and he keeps a frenetic
pace.  Alvarez thinks that there
are benefits and downfalls to fighting a tough guy like Kawajiri in his first
fight of the night. 


“It has pros and cons. 
Kawajiri would be a good guy to fight in the first round because you
need a lot of energy against a guy like that.  He uses a lot of his power and a lot of his strength,” he
explained. “Fighting him in the second round wouldn’t be bad either just
because all that wrestling he does uses muscles.  He would probably tire out.  He’s probably a good guy to fight in the second round
because he would be so worn down from using all that strength.


“I wanted to fight Kawajiri the most out of these three
guys.  He’s a good match up for
me.  He’s strong.  He’s fast.  He gets a lot of credit over in Japan.  If I can beat a guy like that, I’ll get
the recognition in Japan that I want.”


Fighting a strong opponent like Kawajiri is a tall order,
but Alvarez strongly believes that the key to defeating that type of fighter is
to break him mentally. 


“I believe that will be a big part of this fight.  Keeping it on my feet and stalking him
and get him nervous.  Let him feel
my power and let the anxiety set in,” commented Alvarez. 


“I feel like I can beat him as long as I do the game plan
that I want to do as long as I’m focused that night.  I can knock Kawajiri out.   He’s used to dominating fights.  I don’t think he’ll be able to do
that.  I think I’ll put him in a
situation where he’ll panic and he’ll break.  That’s what I’m looking forward to doing.” 


The Philadelphia native is very focused on his fight with
Kawajiri and is not concerning himself at all with what will happen next.  He’s studied Shinya Aoki and Caol Uno
in the past and he feels comfortable fighting them, assuming he gets past


“I think what’s most important is to focus on the first
round fight.  It’s very important
to focus on the present and focus on what’s in front of you, and that’s
Kawajiri.  That will be my first
round fight.  I’ve looked at the
second round guys and I have a good idea on how to fight them.  But like I said, I think the second round
is going to come down to a lot of heart and a lot of mind – and I have
that.  More than any fighter in
this tournament, I think I have that.”


If Alvarez makes it to the finals, that will be his fourth
and fifth fights this year.  After
this tournament, he plans on taking some much deserved time off. 


“I’m going to take some time off.  I’m getting married in September, so I’ll be off in
September,” he explained.  “I want
to spend some time with my family. 
I’ve been really busy and I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with my
family.  That’s really important.”