Eddie’s Signature Move
Eddie uses what is referred to as a “dart” where he uses his footwork to strike with his cross while shifting off in a lateral motion to escape counters. He’s used this quite often against a variety of opponents.
I want to bring up an important technical detail about what went wrong when Eddie tried this against Conor McGregor. When Eddie darted at Conor, he was immediately drop afterwards. This happen quite a few times throughout the match actually.
The question raised here is why? Why did he get dropped? Aside from Conor’s good timing, if you noticed Eddie darting in, you’ll see that he moved too much in a straight line, right towards the power of Conor’s left hand. More specifically, Eddie didn’t bump his lead leg out to take a steep angle away from Conor’s power hand, as a result, you see Conor connecting with his left hand.
To illustrate what it means to bump the lead leg out, look at previous fights where Eddie constantly demonstrates moving laterally while darting. He does this by bumping his lead leg out laterally to move away from counters.
The ideal way to throw the dart without eating counters is by taking a steep angle while moving away laterally from the opponent’s power hand. In previous write ups, I mentioned how successful T.J. Dillashaw was using this repeatedly to land strikes while avoiding counters in a rematch against Raphael Assuncao.
Against a fighter who mirrors your stance, it’s a little easier if you dart outside their lead leg as demonstrated by Dillashaw. If you want to see a detailed example of the steep angle while darting, check out this Gif Image breaking down the exact execution.
Fighters tend to use slight variations of the dart, but in Dillashaw’s case, he makes slight adjustments in his footwork to ensure he movements take a deep angle for defensive purposes. With a lack of defensive action and Eddie’s risky execution of the dart without bumping his lead leg laterally, this drove him right into Conor’s punishing left hand.
Eddie made great use of his inside leg kicks. Conor has a very strong tendency to pursue the left hand, but Eddie was able to shut it down using kicks for a while. Eddie would regularly kick Conor’s inside leg in, throwing him off balance. This was an important tool that Eddie could have benefited from if he had built more onto it. In order for a fighter to uncork that left hand power shot, they need their stance firmly grounded, so by delivering leg kicks to Conor, Eddie took away his stance. Without a sturdy stance, Conor’s left hand was essentially taken away as well. The broken stance presented Eddie with the ability to pursue more offense, but Eddie didn’t follow up very much.
In the rematch between Michael Bisping vs Dan Henderson, Bisping made good use of kicks to kill the stance and follow up. Check out this example to get an idea of how Bisping took away Henderson’s power hand and followed up with more strikes.
Defeat In Hindsight
After getting cracked, Eddie admittedly mentioned on Chael Sonnen’s show his disappointment about deviating from his game-plan. He had intended to originally apply more wrestling and to circle out of Conor’s lead leg, but instead reverted to his boxing, while circling to the other direction, making it hard to get the single leg takedown.
Conor wasn’t so heavy on the kicks this time like he has been in the past. It seems to be an energy efficient process in controlling his pace. He did throw in his usual kicks, but it served more to provide different looks to make his offensive rhythm unpredictable. Conor played an effective and controlled game against Eddie Alvarez. It was the left hand, distance management and precision that transcended Conor into becoming the first simultaneous two-weight UFC world champ.
Who’s next? Who can match Conor’s technical brilliance?
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