Eddie Alvarez: MMA's Rocky BalboaPosted on April 4, 2011, 03:57 AM by Ryan Ventura
The city of Philadelphia, best known through out the world as “the city of brotherly love”. Home of the famous cheese steak sandwiches, the Philadelphia Phillies, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But the city of Philadelphia is also known for their fighting culture. The Philly Style of boxing is very well-known. “The Executioner” Bernard Hopkins is a legend in the sweet science and probably the city's best known fighter. But for the non-boxing fans when you think of Philadelphia, you probably think of the movie Rocky.
We are all too familiar with the story of Rocky Balboa. The underdog from the wrong side of town who becomes one of the most beloved fighters in history. From fighting in the streets to world champion, Rocky is an inspirational fictional story of triumph. A real life Mixed Martial Artist from the very same streets that the character Rocky grew up in, is a name hardcore fans are very familiar with.
Eddie Alvarez was born and raised in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. A place known for crime and recreational drug use. To stay out of the trouble and temptations that surrounded Eddie in his youth, he found wrestling while attending Northeast Catholic High School. He found success in grappling at the high school level and was a two-time All-American. His love and passion for competition was so strong, as soon as he graduated school he started to train in MMA. After eight months of formal training, he had his first professional fight, and brutally knocked out his opponent.
From that first fight in 2003, he just continued to become better and better each day. Accompanied by his wrestling base that he learned while in school, he developed very strong MMA boxing abilities to add to his already strong arsenal. After winning eight fights in a row, in 2006 Eddie became the BodogFIGHT Welterweight Champion. He successfully defended his title once, but during his second defense he loss via TKO against Nick Thompson. Right after that loss though, Eddie returned to his winning ways beating names like Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri along the way.
Eventually he earned the right to face Japanese icon Shinya Aoki at Dynamite 2008 for the WAMMA Lightweight title. Unfortunately for him, Aoki is one of the best when it comes to the ground game, and he handed Eddie his second career loss. It was back the drawing board and time for a fresh new start in Bellator's very first season in the Lightweight tournament. He submitted England's Greg Loughran, submitted Eric Reynolds, and even submitted world-class grappler Toby Imada to win the Bellator Lightweight Championship.
Not only did Eddie become one of our sport's most beloved knockout artists, he developed a very respectable submission game. He has grown into a complete Mixed Martial Artist. Right after winning the Bellator Lightweight strap, he returned to DREAM to submit Katsunori Kikuno. He came back to Bellator to submit Josh Neer at a 160lbs catchweight, destroyed Roger Huerta in a non-title match, and most recently dominated Pat Curran in a rare decision successfully defending his belt.
Eddie Alvarez is one of the few star fighters ranked in the top-ten in their division, who doesn't fight under the ZUFFA umbrella. The more he fights, the more fans he gains with his exciting brand of fighting and his signature fade haircut. We can expect Bellator boss Bjorn Rebney to do everything in his power to keep Alvarez in the circle cage.
From finding suitable opponents to challenge for his belt or even paying him more money, it'll be very difficult to hold on to him. Especially since majority of the world's best Lightweight Mixed Martial Artists under Strikeforce or UFC. Eventually the temptation to want to fight the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis, or even a rematch with Shinya Aoki could entice Alvarez into one of ZUFFA's promotions.
With hard work and determination, Eddie has become one of the best and most exciting fighters today. The fighting tradition of Philadelphia has now invaded the world of Mixed Martial Arts. From the slums to the promised land, Eddie Alvarez is truly MMA's Rocky Balboa.