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Alvarez Vows to Shut Huerta Down


Even though Roger Huerta has struggled of late, Eddie Alvarez believes the UFC veteran will be at his best when they fight Thursday at Bellator 33.

“That’s usually when you perform your best — when you’re the underdog,” Alvarez said last week during an episode of “The Savage Dog Show” on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I’m expecting the best Roger Huerta possible. That’s what I trained for.”

Huerta has lost three of his last four, but his overall record is still a strong one at 21-4-1. He is 1-1 in Bellator. The promotion likely expected him to win its season two lightweight tournament and set up a showdown for Alvarez’s 155-pound title. That went awry when Huerta lost a unanimous decision to Pat Curran in May, but now that Curran is injured, the anticipated Huerta-Alvarez matchup is coming together after all in the form of a non-title bout.

“He didn’t join with Bellator to take a backseat,” Alvarez said. “He joined Bellator to be their marquee guy, just like the UFC was trying to promote him. Immediately he became a threat to me. He’s been unfortunate in his last couple of outings, but that’s what makes him even more dangerous. He has nothing to lose, zero to lose.”

Huerta has said losing to Alvarez would end up “killing” his career. Alvarez is not sympathetic.

“I’m going to get in his face like nobody’s got in his face before,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to finish him. I don’t think there’s going to be a part of the fight where Roger’s dominant. I want to get right after him and beat him like nobody’s beaten him.”

Huerta is also promising a barnburner. Last week he said not to expect a technical fight, suggesting he’d be more than happy to scrap and scramble. Alvarez has a plan for the scrambling part in particular.

“I already got it taken care of. Don’t even sweat it,” he said. “There’ll be no scrambling going on. … You’ll see it in the fight, a couple little moves we’ve been working on to shut all that down, shut all that scrambling down, all that moving around. We’re going to shut him down.”

Despite his reputation for having heavy hands, Alvarez has won five straight via submission. That’s no accident after the back-and-forth bouts he went through in 2008 against opponents like Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen.

“I got in a lot of battles in ‘08,” Alvarez said. “A lot, a lot of battles, and I think it took years off my fight career. I needed to ease up a little bit and try to get out of some of these things unscathed so I can last a little longer in the sport.”

Fans will be watching for another battle Thursday. The fight will likely be the biggest in Bellator’s young history, and the fact that it’s taking place at the Liacouras Center in Alvarez’s hometown of Philadelphia should deliver a strong live audience. Alvarez expects to sell more than 1,000 tickets himself and hundreds of T-shirts.

“When you see it on TV, you’re going to see a massive amount of people in the same-colored T-shirt,” Alvarez said. “It’s going to be something magical.”

The matchup won’t generate anywhere near the attention of UFC 121 on Saturday, but Alvarez makes a good argument as to why his meeting with Huerta shouldn’t be missed. It’s not $44.95, for one. Fans who have Fox Sports Net will be able to watch the No. 6-ranked lightweight in the world at no extra cost, and his opponent is a gamer.

“We fight,” Alvarez said. “If there’s two guys in MMA who go out and put it all out there, it’s us two. We fight and we don’t give up.”

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