It wasn’t pretty from the ‘Silent Assassin’ but he executed the perfect gameplan to shutdown ‘Showtime’ and continue what has been a gruelling start to life in the UFC.
The former Bellator champion faced Donald Cerrone in his UFC debut, then came back against Gilbert Melendez but as the difficulty moved up a notch, Alvarez used his wrestling to control Pettis.
Rafael dos Anjos exposed the gameplan to beating him in ripping the belt away last year and although not quite as emphatic, Alvarez quelled his offence by pinning him up against the cage. Now ,he wants a shot at the title.
“He’s a former champion and so far (in the UFC), I’ve fought nothing but guys (who have been in) title fights,” Alvarez said. “He’s a former champion and I want the champion next. Give me the champion.”
As for Pettis, the division is beginning to pass him by and it’s going to be a long way back to the top after his second-straight defeat.
“I’m angry,” he said. “I don’t know what to say right now.”
Elsewhere, a heavyweight clash that promised fireworks fell flat.
Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione failed to blaze in a fight marred by eye pokes. The first happened in the closing stages of the first round but Mitrione recovered.
He was caught again, this time by Browne’s thumb in the second but was cleared to fight on.
Browne avoided a deduction and after a crushing right hand in the third, completed a takedown to ground and pound a stoppage. Mitrione was left with a horribly swollen eye and the crowd made their feelings known towards the victor.
The coaches will lead a group of eight light heavyweights and eight strawweights who will compete for a UFC contract and the title of The Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia will start in April with a two-hour season premiere as 32 competitors fight for one of 16 slots – eight in each weight class – available to be coached by two of the sport’s best.
The season will continue with 11 one-hour shows and is currently the highest rated and most watched original program since the network’s inception in August 2013.
Poland’s first UFC champion, Jedrzejczyk (11-0, fighting out of Olsztyn, Poland) stormed onto the scene in 2014 with her first Octagon appearance.
Since then, she’s gone on to win five straight, won the strawweight title, cemented her place on the top pound-for-pound list and is widely considered as one of the best strikers in the sport.
She’ll now lend her expertise to the next generation of athletes who hope to follow in her footsteps and one day wear UFC gold themselves.
Gadelha (13-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) trains at the renowned Nova Uniao gym, home to former champions Jose Aldo & Renan Barao.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist hopes to get another crack at current strawweight champion, Jedrzejczyk, who provided Gadelha with the only blemish on her record – a three-round split decision loss in late 2014.
Their contrasting styles should provide for an entertaining season between the two teams. The Brazilian’s comfort zone is on the canvas and will provide a stark contrast to the Polish athlete’s highly skilled striking attack brings a completely different skillset to the show.
The series culminates in a live finale on Friday, July 8 in Las Vegas as part of International Fight Week and will be headlined by Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha in a championship bout for the strawweight world title.
HOLLY HOLM VS CRIS CYBORG
Should bantam weight champ Holm come through her UFC 197 test against Meisha Tate this would be the biggest fight to make. Cyborg’s already said 135lbs is a no go but Holm is open to a catch-weight 140lbs.
CONOR MCGREGOR VS FRANKIE EDGAR
Regardless of what happens in his lightweight clash with Rafael dos Anjos in March, Conor McGregor will in all likelihood take on featherweight No1 contender Edgar in what could prove to be his toughest test to date.
ANDERSON SILVA VS GEORGE ST. PIERRE
Anderson Silva returns to action next month against Michael Bisping. Look good against the Manchester fighter and we could finally see the super-fight MMA fans always dreamed of. It is hoped GSP will return this year.
T.J DILLASHAW VS URIJAH FABER
There’s bad blood between these two. Dillashaw has been labelled as a traitor after leaving Faber’s Alpha camp – a group he’d been with for his whole MMA career. July would be the perfect time to end the saga and provide either the platform to take on new bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. For Faber that could see him complete a trilogy against Cruz and for Dillashaw it would be a shot at redemption.
FABRICIO WERDUM/CAIN VELASQUEZ VS ALISTAIR OVEREEM
Fabricio Werdum rematches Cain Velasquez next month for the heavy-weight strap and whoever cones out victorious should take on re-energised Dutchman Overeem.