Sunday 4 December 2016

Fired-up Alvarez has an emphatic prediction for his UFC 205 bout with McGregor

JOE CALLAGHAN reports from New York City

Published 09/11/2016 | 16:40

Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez face-off
Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez face-off

Eddie Alvarez has promised to end Conor McGregor's year like it started - with another submission defeat of the Dubliner.

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McGregor suffered the first loss of his breathless UFC career in March when Nate Diaz stunned the mixed martial arts world in a bout that was hastily rearranged when then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of a scheduled megafight with the Notorious.

Read more: 'I could not give a b******s': Conor McGregor gives a blunt response when asked about Donald Trump's election

With that lightweight championship finally within McGregor's grasp when he and Alvarez clash in the historic headline event of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, the chance to become the UFC's first simultaneous dual champion is again driving the 28-year-old.

Alvarez, however, has no plans to relinquish his crown, promising to upset the predictions and odds in a week when America has seen the biggest predictions of all tumble by the wayside.

"I think I'm going to land big shots," Alvarez said during a public workout on the arena floor of the Garden on Wednesday morning. "This guy is worried about a lot of grappling and wrestling. When his mind is on that I'm going to hit him with a big shot and submit him.

"I overcome challenges every day. That's what I'm good at, that's what I pride myself on, that's why I'm champion. I'm looking forward to him bringing it on Saturday night. Hopefully he'll bring that dog out in me. Bring me some fight, please."

The Philadelphia veteran claimed the lightweight title with a devastating defeat of Dos Anjos when the Brazilian returned from injury in July. It was the most pivotal triumph of his lengthy career, sending him on a path to this headline act in the first ever UFC card in New York. While McGregor chases history, unprecedented riches are on the line for Alvarez on the biggest night of his life.

"It's incredible. The energy is incredible," he said in front of a slightly muted post-election crowd in Manhattan. "I'm blessed that you guys came out. If you've got a red, white or orange flag, it doesn't matter what you've got. You're here and I appreciate you guys.

"I fought 13 years of my life to put myself on this stage under the biggest lights and in front of the biggest crowd. I am super excited to go out there."

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