Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez: Fight Breakdown of The Notorious Left Hand (part 2 of 2)

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.

eddier dart comp 2.gif
Advance in and angle off. 

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.

conor drops alvarez.gif
Alvarez darts forward into a shot. Note his lead leg doesn’t bump out laterally though. 

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.

eddie dart arrow breakdown.gif
Eddie throws the cross, shifts his rear leg forward. Look as his lead foot bumps out laterally away from the counter range. 

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.

TJ dart 9 with follow up attempts.gif
T.J. darting laterally as Assuncao is unable to reach with his own counter. 

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.

T.J. Dart breakdown gif image 

Roy Jones Jr. using the Dart (Because why not?)

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.

 Strategy 

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.

alvarez inside leg kicks conor.gif

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.

Example: Bisping leg kick into follow up. 

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?

If you like these kinds of breakdowns, please share with fellow enthusiast or feel free to visit my homepage with the list of other fights I’ve covered. Main Page.

=)

I’ve received a few request from readers asking me about certain things about this fight and did my best to address them, so if you have any questions for future fights, always feel free shoot them my way. It’s always a pleasure helping fellow enthusiast lean about the craft. Thanks for reading folks!

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3 thoughts on “Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez: Fight Breakdown of The Notorious Left Hand (part 2 of 2)”

  1. I read both parts, very precise and the visuals are awesome. I personally thought Eddie looked off from the start, I think that mind game got to him.

    Like

  2. the dart seems far harder to execute against an opponent in an open stance context (opposite lead legs) + Eddie stays in the pocket after shifting against Connor, while against other opponents he quickly retreats

    Like

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