Eddie Alvarez opted to grind his way to victory tonight with clinch work and takedowns against Anthony Pettis tonight at UFC Fight Night 81 and it proved to be a successful strategy, leading him to a split decision victory.
Alvarez pulls out of an early kick attempt. He does land a leg kick though. Pettis with a jumping front kick attempt, but it doesn’t connect.
Alvarez suddenly burst into a takedown attempt and lands it with Pettis’ back up against the cage. Pettis looks to stand and Alvarez hammers some punches to his head as he does so, then pushes him into the cage.
Alvarez working for the takedown again. Pettis defending for now and lands a knee. Alvarez up for a moment, then down looking for the takedown again, but ‘Showtime’ is doing well to stay upright so far.
Alvarez continuing to apply pressure though and this isn’t where Pettis wants to be. Pettis shows good balance as Alvarez tries for a trip and doesn’t land it, but he persists and gets him down at the second attempt. However, Pettis is quickly back to his feet, manages to find some room and gets out of danger.
Pettis with a few kicks. He tries a spinning kick, but Alvarez closed the distance quicker and was able to take him down. Pettis back up and again is pressed up against the cage.
Alvarez backs away. Pettis lands a solid kick to the body. Pettis tries the spinning kick to the head, but Alvarez had moved out of danger. Alvarez with a leg kick. Pettis with another hard kick of his own.
Alvarez clinches, lands a knee and then they break free again. Final 10 seconds and Pettis tries to push forward. Alvarez throws a head kick attempt that’s blocked.
Pettis with a quick mid-kick. He fires one upstairs. Body kick from Alvarez as Pettis lands a punch. alvarez with right hand.
Alvarez with a right hook. Pettis moving on the outside and Alvarez bursts into the takedown attempt, settling for pressing Pettis up against the cage. A couple of uppercuts from Alvarez and Pettis moves away.
Nice knee strike from Pettis. Right hand lands too. Lefr hook for Alvarez. Body kick from Pettis. Short right hook for Pettis on the counter.
Alvarez taking the center of the cage, but Pettis comes forward and lands a leg kick. Now it’s him who’s in the center landing another leg kick. Alvarez responds in kind. Pettis to the leg again.
Alvarez pressing Pettis against the cage again and Pettis thinks about a guillotine attempt, then thinks better of it. Alvarez trying for a single leg, but Pettis breaks away.
Pettis with a jab, then an overhand. Body kick lands too. Leg kick from Alvarez. Punch from Pettis over the top. Alvarez trying to push him to the cage, but this time Pettis prevents it and breaks away from the clinch.
Alvarez with another kick. He lands with a right hand too. Now it’s Pettis with a right hand and leg kick. Both exchange leg kicks.
Body kick for Pettis, then one in response from Alvarez. Alvarez in for a final takedown against the cage, but doesn’t get it.
They exchange leg kicks to start, two from Pettis, one from Alvarez. They continue to trade kicks, then Alvarez is in on that takedown against the cage again. Pettis able to get away. Body kick from Alvarez. He lands to the leg too. Pettis misses on a punch and Alvarez punches the body.
Knee from Pettis in close and he land to the head too. Alvarez in on the takedown and this time he lands it with 3.30mins or so to work. Pettis trying to work for a leg lock. Alvarez lands a couple of hammerfists and gets free from that attempt. In Pettis’ half guard now. Pettis fights back to his feet, but Alvarez continues to press him against the cage, then brings him back down to the mat again.
Pettis upright again. two minutes to go, he needs to get back to striking range, but Alvarez is staying on him against the cage. Alvarez working hard to take him down again. Alvarez does manage to suck his legs out from under him to bring the fight to the mat once more.
Pettis stands again with a minute to go. FInally he gets away from the cage, throwing a knee in the process. Right hook from Pettis. He throws a flurry of punches and a kick as Alvarez wades in. Both men tired but they trade a few punches and kicks as the round comes to an end.
So, Alvarez grinds his way to victory here, though surprisingly it’s actually a split decision verdict (29-28 x2, 28-29).