Photo Credit || Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Boston, Massachusetts: Eddie Alvarez used a grappling-heavy strategy to take a razor close split decision over former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of the evening.
UFC Fight Night 81 was held on January 17, 2016 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez took place on the main card which aired on Fox Sports 1.
Round 1: Pettis took the center of hte cage early, but it was Alvarez who landed first with a leg kick. 30 seconds in, Alvarez shot in for a takedown and pulled Petis down to the mat and against the cage. Pettis was up quickly, but couldn’t escape the clinch. Alvarez seemed intent on staying as close as possible to Pettis and keeping it on the ground. He was constantly looking to droop his hips and get another takedown. Pettis was able to land some knees, but had no luck shaking Alvarez off before briefly going back to the canvas. Finally, Pettis circled away from the cage and started throwing kicks. He tried a spinning heel kick, but found himself taken down once again. Alvarez couldn’t hold it though, and soon ate a hard body kick from the former champ. He ate another with about 30 seconds left. Pettis stalked Alvarez in the final seconds before the round ended.
Round 2: Alvarez landed a kick to the body, but ate a punch in reply. He handled it well, though, and landed a good left hook shortly thereafter and shot for another takedown. Pettis defended and made it back to the center before landing a solid knee to the body of his opponent. Pettis was looking to counter punch now and caught Alvarez several times after making him miss. Alvarez pushed Pettis against the cage again, but was had no luck getting the fight back to the mat. Pettis started landing his strikes easier after every failed takedown attempt from Alvarez. Alvarez seemed to be slowing as the second round came to a finish.
Round 3: Alvarez came out with more urgency, but went right back to the takedown attempt. he failed again and ate several strikes. He was throwing back, but Pettis’s strikes had a lot more steam behind them. Eddie was bleeding from his nose now, but he finally scored with a double leg against the fence. Pettis, however, went for a heelhook. Alvarez defended and ended up in half-guard. Alvarez landed some GnP, and put Pettis back down after allowing to stand for a moment. Pettis stood, but was pulled down for a third time. Pettis broke away with 30 seconds left, giving both men the opportunity to swing away. They exchanged until the final bell sounded.
Official Result: Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Eddie Alvarez elevates his record to 27-4. Pettis has lost two in a row and is now 18-4.
— UFC (@ufc) January 18, 2016
— UFC (@ufc) January 18, 2016
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