UFC Fight Night 90 Opening Odds Breakdown: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Eddie Alvarez

UFC Fight Night 90UFC Fight Night 90: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez Date: July 7th, 2016 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: UFC Fight Pass Rafael dos Anjos – UFC Lightweight Champion After starting his UFC career a pedestrian 4-4, Rafael dos Anjos turned a corner in 2012. The Brazilian put together at five-fight win streak culminating with a win over Donald Cerrone that moved him into serious title contention. However, his next outing saw dos Anjos thoroughly outwrestled by Khabib Nurmagomedov, sending him back to the drawing board. Dos Anjos emerged from the Nurmagomedov bout with a renewed purpose, stopping Jason High and Benson Henderson with strikes in back-to-back bouts. He then proceeded to maul Nate Diaz both standing and on the mat for a decision victory. With his former Russian foe on the shelf due to a series of injuries, dos Anjos was afforded a shot at the UFC lightweight title held by Anthony Pettis. In one of the most dominant and surprising championship performances since TJ Dillashaw battered Renan Barao, dos Anjos controlled the entire 25-minute bout. The Kings MMA product landed shots as he closed the distance on Pettis, scored nine takedowns in the fight, and showcased his excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the mat to negate the champion’s submission skills. Nearly seven years after entering the UFC, dos Anjos had climbed to the top of his division. His dominance over lightweight continued in his first title defense, as he scored a second victory over Cerrone. This time was even more emphatic, as a massive body kick and flurry of punches stopped his challenger in just 66 seconds. Dos Anjos will look to remain on top of the 155lb class when he takes on Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 to help kick off UFC 200 weekend. Eddie Alvarez – UFC Lightweight Contender Starting his career as a welterweight in the tri-state area, Eddie Alvarez made his rounds of the MMA world before ending up in the UFC. He first came to notoriety in BodogFight before plying his trade in Japan. The 2008 DREAM lightweight grand prix was his coming out party, as Alvarez put on fight of the year candidates against both Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri. A cut prevented him from competing in the tournament final, and when he did meet eventual winner Shinya Aoki he was submitted in 92 seconds by a heel hook. Alvarez would appear in DREAM once more in his career, but in 2009 he became one of the flagship fighters for upstart Bellator. Breezing through the promotion’s inaugural tournament, he became the first Bellator lightweight champion. He held the title until a November 2011 clash with Michael Chandler which added to Alvarez’s lore as an action fighter. Avenging his loss to Shinya Aoki and scoring a victory over Patricky Freire had Alvarez in line for another title shot, but a contract dispute with Bellator kept him out of action for over a year. When he eventually met Chandler again, he regained his belt with a split decision in another great fight. That would mark Alvarez’s last bout with the promotion however, as the continuing contract dispute eventually saw him sign with the UFC. Finally in the UFC, Alvarez dropped his debut to Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision, but rebounded with a gutsy split decision over Gilbert Melendez after having his eye swollen shut early in the fight. Alvarez then faced former champion Anthony Pettis, and once again eeked out a split decision victory using his wrestling. That put him right at the top of the list of lightweight contenders, and Alvarez will get his shot at the belt against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 90. Opening Odds Breakdown: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the champion dos Anjos a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100) and Alvarez a +240 underdog (bet $100 to win $240) at Several Bookmakers. This is an intriguing fight because for the first time since dos Anjos faced Nurmagomedov he’ll likely have to go deep into a fight with a skilled wrestler. Alvarez is durable enough to stand up to dos Anjos’ strikes, and could neutralize the champion’s wrestling or perhaps even score some takedowns of his own. Historically dos Anjos has struggled when opponents are able to take him down, and Alvarez’s recent bouts show that he’s more than willing to employ that strategy to get a win. If Alvarez reverts to his brawling ways against a fighter who has developed into a brutal striker, his title challenge will likely be a fool’s errand, so this fight will hinge on who wins the wrestling game and in that aspect, Alvarez has a real shot.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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