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Eddie Alvarez confident Arman Tsarukyan beats UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev

Eddie Alvarez thinks Arman Tsarukyan is the one to dethrone UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) retained his title with a fifth-round submission of Dustin Poirier in this past Saturday’s UFC 302 headliner at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

When comparing Makhachev to his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Alvarez says Makhachev’s risk taking is what makes him more beatable than Nurmagomedov.

“Islam is not Khabib, he doesn’t fight like Khabib,” Alvarez said on The MMA Hour. “He takes more chances, he takes more risks and relies on finishing guys, where Khabib just knew you weren’t going to be able to deal with him over time and he’d take you from 100 percent energy to 0 energy, and then he would finish you.

“Islam’s going to go for it, he’s going to leave himself more vulnerable so he’s a little bit funner to watch, but he’s more susceptible to getting beat than Khabib was.”

Makhachev said he’s more interested in challenging for the welterweight title than rematching Tsarukyan (22-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC), whom he beat in April 2019. That was just Tsarukyan’s UFC debut, and the 27-year-old has since gone 9-1.

Alvarez thinks Makhachev and his team are avoiding Tsarukyan. The former UFC lightweight champion also sees Tsarukyan being able to resist Makhachev’s wrestling, and even picked him to win – especially after seeing Poirier fend off numerous of Makhachev’s takedown attempts.

“Arman beats him,” Alvarez said. “I made that assumption right after the (Poirier) fight. Everybody Khabib defended against, he had what I call the state-grappling advantage. The gap in the grappling advantage was so high, and he dominated these guys. … If you’re able to match their wrestling a little bit where they can’t dominate you and you can put them in a fight, you start to see they’re a little bit human.”

“Arman, because of his wrestling background, he’s going to be able to stop the shot. He may even take Islam down a little bit. Islam won’t be the hammer the entire fight, and we need to see how he deals with that because they’re always the hammer.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie