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The Underground King

Eddie Alvarez (29-7-1) spent a huge chunk of his career gaining a reputation before fighting in some of biggest MMA promotions to fit his nickname; the Underground King. Throughout his fighting career he has fought names such as Shinya Aoki, Nick Thompson, Michael Chandler, Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. Along with beating names like Pat Curran, Roger Huerta, Toby Imada, Justin Gaethje, Gilbert Melendez, Patricky Freire and Rafael Dos Anjos to capture the UFC Lightweight title. He also won the Bellator Lightweight championship and was the MFC/Bodog welterweight champion. 

Eddie Alvarez shot at Nick Catone’s gym in New Jersey. Photographed by Amanda Sanchez

Alvarez began his career fighting in New Jersey and went undefeated for his first 10 professional fights. Soon after his first loss to Nick Thompson, he entered into a Japanese promotion called DREAM. The promotion was created by former PRIDE Fighting Championship executives. Alvarez competed in DREAM 1, 3, 5 and 12. It was after these matches that he was put against a grappling specialist and future MMA legend, Shinya Aoki. 

Eddie Alvarez shot at Nick Catone’s gym in New Jersey. Photographed by Amanda Sanchez

After losing to Aoki, Alvarez began his career fighting in the then newly formed Bellator organization where he became a staple in the promotion. He fought consistently from 2009 to 2013 where he won the inaugural championship for the lightweight where he defended the title, lost it for a period of time and winning it again. While in Bellator, Alvarez raised his profile amongst the general population of MMA fans and climbed in the rankings as the #1 Lightweight competitor. Even avenging his loss against Shinya Aoki. This is partially due to his back-and-forth fights and gritty performances that became beloved by fans. It was also this attention that made people wonder what would happen if the Underground King made his way into the UFC. 

Eddie Alvarez shot at Nick Catone’s gym in New Jersey. Photographed by Amanda Sanchez

When Eddie Alvarez did decide to test himself and make a transition into the UFC, his contract with Bellator would create a legal battle that would last nearly a year; with both the promotion and Alvarez counter suing each other. When the presidency of the organization changed from Bjorn Rebney to Scott Coker, Alvarez was soon released from his contract and allowed to enter the UFC. 

His first fight entering into the UFC was Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a losing effort but then goes on a 3-fight winning streak. This includes the opportunity to be a coach on The Ultimate Fighter which lead to an eventual fight against Gilbert Melendez. This also includes his win over a prime Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC’s Lightweight title. This is an upset that solidified his status amongst fans as being one of the greatest lightweights of all time. He would lose the title four months later against Conor McGregor. 

Eddie Alvarez shot at Nick Catone’s gym in New Jersey. Photographed by Amanda Sanchez

Following a loss, a no-contest and an exciting win against Justin Gaethje that would win Fight of the Year for 2017, Eddie Alvarez chose to seek another promotion. Citing complaints of fight purse and unfavorable treatment, Alvarez signed with the Singapore-based promotion known as ONE Championship. In March of 2019 he had his first fight against Timofey Nastyukhin in which he lost at the end of the first round. 

His second match will be against on August 2 will be against the former ONE Lightweight champ, Eduard Folayang. Folayang has a heavy Wushu base and has fought in ONE’s organization since its inception in 2011. Time and time again, Eddie Alvarez has been put against top contenders like Folayang and came out on top. Like former UFC Flyweight champ, Demetrious Johnson, this will be Alvarez’s second fight since leaving the UFC and a chance to extend his long legacy in MMA by making his stamp in a new promotion.■

Eddie Alvarez shot at Nick Catone’s gym in New Jersey. Photographed by Amanda Sanchez


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