The main event of UFC 205 between Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor figures to be an exciting matchup between a pure striker in McGregor and an all-around fighter in Alvarez.
There is no shortage of animosity between the two, and both have called for an early finish to this fight so we should be in for a thrilling scrap at Madison Square Garden. The question is whether McGregor walks out of MSG with the lightweight belt and become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles at the same time.
McGregor has a chance to make history on an already historic night for the company making its debut in New York. Here are three reasons why McGregor will walk out of the octagon with two belts on Saturday night:
1. Experience on the stage: Every time Conor McGregor fights, it's a bigger and bigger spectacle. He's the biggest draw in the sport and he embraces the stage and the bright lights. The first main event in UFC history at Madison Square Garden is arguably the grandest stage of them all for UFC -- especially on this big of a card -- and we know McGregor will be ready for it. Alvarez has never main evented a major UFC pay-per-view event, and while he's got plenty of experience, it's fair to wonder if there will be any added nerves on the champion's side.
2. Improved takedown defense: This was something we saw him display at 202 against Nate Diaz. McGregor, against a bigger opponent, did a tremendous job of defending takedowns. According the UFC's stats, 53 percent of Alvarez's offense is takedowns and while his ability on the ground will be seen by some as an advantage, McGregor's improved defense in that area can help him negate that and keep this fight standing up. McGregor has also improved his takedown defense percentage to 70.
3. Striking: Alvarez has 15 knockouts in his career and is more than capable on his feet, but McGregor is such a tremendous striker, both with his punching and as we saw against Diaz, with his leg kicks. McGregor's knockout power didn't quite travel with him to 170 pounds, but he was still able to knock Diaz down with punches on a few occasions. Diaz is as tough as there is and McGregor still did a number on him with his striking.
I think being at 155 pounds will agree with style much more and his knockout power will return at the lighter weight class. Alvarez is hittable -- he's been out hit in three of his four UFC fights -- and McGregor is so precise and lethal with his strikes that I believe at some point he'll tag Alvarez with a blow he cannot come back from.