Either way history will be made at Madison Square Garden on Saturday evening regardless of whether Conor McGregor (20-3) will become a two-weight champion if he defeats Eddie Alvarez (28-4).
It will still be an historic night for the company as New York plays host to UFC 205 for the first time. The card produced for New York’s first ever UFC event is undoubtedly the best in UFC history, before McGregor and Alvarez face-off; the expecting fans will be treated to no-less than two title fights.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0) will put her Strawweight championship on the line against fellow Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0) in what could potentially be one of the fights of the night. Elsewhere the Welterweight championship is on the line as Tyron Woodley (16-3) faces-off against Stephen Thompson (13-1) in what is set to be a hugely entertaining clash. Also on the main card Chris Weidman (13-1) takes on Yoel Romero (12-1) in the men’s Middleweight division, and finally in the women’s Bantamweight division former champion Miesha Tate (18-6) squares-off against Raquel Pennington (8-6).
Donald Cerrone was due to fight Kelvin Gastelum as well on the main card, but Gastelum failed to make the weight, so at the moment Cerrone’s chance to flavour the Garden has been put on the backburners.
But despite the card being monumentally stacked with talent left, right and centre, the main event is between the Featherweight champion McGregor and the Lightweight champion Alvarez in what will be an intriguing contest.
McGregor is aiming to make history in more ways than one on Saturday evening; the Irishman is well averse to creating a bit of history. Last December he knocked-out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, the fastest KO in UFC history. Then at UFC 202 a $3million disclosed purse was also record breaking, and according to the Dana White UFC 205 will break the Garden’s record gate of $13.5m set by Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in 1999, and regardless of your views on the confident and brash Irishman a lot of that is down to the lure of McGregor.
McGregor aiming to be immortalized at UFC 205
Holding two belts simultaneously is some feat; BJ Penn attempted it in 2009 as he challenged Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94, but he lost via TKO. So the path has become clear for McGregor to write history, whether he will succeed is another story, but not many would bet against McGregor at the moment.
The man continues to fight regardless of opponents and weight-classes; his second bout against Nate Diaz earlier this year was a fight of epic proportions. After coming through that fairly unscathed many thought McGregor would hold back until the New Year for his next fight. But a chance to write history and break some records entices the 28-year-old, and with 205 being at the Garden it was something the ‘Notorious One’ couldn’t turn down.
Alvarez poses a threat, but nothing McGregor hasn’t handled before
There is no doubt that Alvarez poses a threat to McGregor on Saturday; his all-action style and ‘never give-up’ attitude is something McGregor might not have thought about; and even if Alvarez does get rocked it will take a lot for the Philadelphia fighter to go down and ultimately stay down.
Speaking about his opponent, the 28-year-old said: “You know, I don't think he poses any threat. He's a tough kid. He's got some good fights under his belt. But I don't see it going well for him.”
But this question about McGregor’s lack of wrestling skills is something that comes up every time he faces a wrestling based opponent; but in previous bouts he has proved, albeit not superbly, but he has proved that he can hold his own against the wrestling style.
At UFC 189 he defeated Chad Mendes, somebody who is famed for his wrestling skills. Alvarez is a different proposition to Mendes, but McGregor has handled the wrestling style before, so it’s hard to completely write-off McGregor’s chances on the floor.
Alvarez plans to make UFC ‘great’ again after he disposes of the ‘Notorious One’
The 32-year-old Alvarez is no stranger to big fight cards, but UFC 205 will be something completely different, firstly because of the history aspect, but also he is fighting the poster boy of the UFC, a guy who has raised the profile of the sport tenfold.
But to Alvarez that doesn’t matter, speaking about the monumental clash, he said: "I will go down as the best lightweight in history, it will start with him, but then I'll make UFC great again. I'll continue to fight the No. 1 guys who belong here.”
After picking up the lightweight belt at UFC Fight Night in July after ruthlessly disposing of former champion Rafael Dos Anjos, it was difficult to see who Alvarez would take-on next, but when the opportunity to fight McGregor came it was something that seemed to excite the ‘Underground King.’
If the ‘Underground King’ can navigate the opening ten minutes a shock could be on the cards
There are so many variables that could play out in this bout. But thing that could come into play is the cardio. Whatever people say about McGregor cardio, it’s true that the Irishman does seem to fade a bit after the third round. He doesn’t completely gas out, but there is a notable drop in energy, we saw that in the first and second fights against Diaz.
But saying that, the 28-year-old is extremely dangerous in the opening two rounds, and this is where Alvarez could win or lose the contest. If Alvarez can steer clear of McGregor’s dangerous strikes and can take the contest into the ‘trenches’ as McGregor has said, the contest could swing in the American’s favour.
It’s not in Alvarez’s nature to sit back and try to avoid McGregor’s shots, he will continue to press with high tempo and look to frustrate the Irishman, but in doing so he could leave himself wide open to McGregor left-hand.
When McGregor has his mind set on achieving something it’s very hard to bet against the man. He has proved countless times before that he can talk the talk, but also walk the walk. It seems making history and breaking records is something that is synonymous with the Dubliner at the moment, and looking ahead to this evening’s contest I just feel McGregor will have enough to put Alvarez away.
I don’t believe it will be in the first round like the man himself said, but I think the second round might be where McGregor lands his devastating blows. If you watch Alvarez he is so susceptible to taking shots, and although in previous bouts he has withstood pressure and tough shots, McGregor is an altogether different opponent.
So with that being said, McGregor to win via knockout in second round.
Well Mystic Mac predicts a first round KO but I'm not so sure about that. Maybe a second or third round KO for Conor. In a way I want Conor to win in the first, but I don't think it'll be that easy.