With all the hubub over UFC 145 this weekend, it’s easy to forget that Bellator has a very interesting headlining fight tonight between Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez. It’s a rematch of their Dynamite!! 2008 fight where Aoki heelhooked the crap out of Alvarez, and it will be interesting to see how Eddie approaches this second fight. At this point the gameplan to beat Aoki is out there and common knowledge. It’s also extremely boring: stay on the outside and whatever you do don’t let Aoki get ahold of you. See: Gilbert Melendez vs Shinya Aoki @ Strikeforce: Nashville. Actually, don’t see it. It was awful.
So can we figure out what Eddie plans to do via any pre-fight comments?
“I’m looking to win. I’m gonna be patient and take my time. I try not to push finishes too much, because when you do that, you make mistakes, and I have in the past. I try to push a finish, and I get clipped or get dropped. When I look back, I get angry at myself. I’m a much more experienced fighter now than I was three years ago. I think a lot more, and I pick my spots. I think that’s gonna be the difference in the outcome of this fight, versus the outcome that we had three years ago.”
It’s really the grappler’s job to figure out how to get at a fighter who stays out of reach, but I always blame boring Aoki fights on the guys who are smart enough to stubbornly stay off the ground no matter how many times he pulls guard and buttscoots around the cage. I’m not so interested in watching guys pepper Aoki on the outside as I am watching them get sucked into a submission war they can’t win. So let’s hope Eddie Alvarez is stupid or sloppy tonight, it’ll make for a much more entertaining fight.