Eddie Alvarez Breaks Down Justin Gaethje’s Chances Against Khabib
Justin Gaethje will face Khabib Nurmagomedov in a UFC lightweight title unification bout at UFC 254 on October 24th. Many have considered ‘The Highlight’ to be ‘The Eagle’s’ toughest opponent yet, given the American’s collegiate wrestling background.
Gaethje pulled off an upset TKO victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to claim the interim title. However, Eddie Alvarez still thinks that the 31-year-old doesn’t have enough tools to end the reign of the undefeated Dagestani. In an interview with MMA Junkie, the former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion said that he believes grappling will play a big part in the fight.
“The style matchup I think – whenever I look at a big fight like that, the first thing I ask myself is kind of where I feel like the fight is going to take place,” said Alvarez. “The majority of the fight, where is it going to happen, and I just see Khabib taking him down. We’ve got to assume it’s going to be on the ground, and I just don’t feel like Justin has the experience jiu-jitsu-wise to be able to deal with what Khabib is going to be able to bring on the ground.”
“Tailor Made For Khabib”
Being 28-0 in mixed martial arts competition, Khabib has absolutely dominated all of his opponents with his high-caliber grappling skills. While Gaethje is hoping to write a different story in their title fight, Alvarez thinks the interim champion could be making a big mistake by relying on his usual fighting style.
“I think it takes some time, like a lot of strategy to fight a guy like Khabib, and I think Justin’s style is tailor made for Khabib,” Alvarez said. “Justin is a come-forward fighter, and I think against a guy like Khabib, you need to be really lateral. You need to move a lot so he can’t get square and then get his shots in on you and Justin’s kinda there. He’s right in front of you and even his mind coming into the fight when I hear the media, ‘I’ve just got to create a car accident,’ I don’t know if that’s the right mindset against Khabib.
“I know he wants to hurt him, and you want to do that, but it should be more of a ‘tag, you’re it,’ game against Khabib and making sure you’re keeping lateral and then ‘tags, you’re it,’ one-twos down the middle and then move again, and that’s how I would like the first round or two played against a guy like Khabib in order to stop that takedown and stop that dominant grappling he has.”
Do you agree with Eddie Alvarez’s assessment of the UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje?