Many fans are still critical of Conor McGregor's performance against Chad Mendes at UFC 189. Despite knocking out "Money" in the second round and neutralising his wrestling onslaught, it's believed that a high-level grappler is the antidote to McGregor-Mania.
Top-ranked UFC lightweight contender Eddie Alvarez echoes that sentiment and believes there's a "simple" way for Rafael dos Anjos to silence the Irishman at UFC 196: drag him to the ground and keep him there.
"For me, it's a very simple fight for RDA to win, but he needs to implement a ground attack," Alvarez said on the latest edition of The MMA Hour. "If he don't, I honestly feel like he can get knocked out, just like the other guys Conor was able to knock out. But he can't allow it to be mostly of a striking."
While McGregor is riding a 15-fight win streak and is unbeaten in six years, "The Notorious" has had trouble with grapplers in the past. McGregor was submitted in his third professional MMA fight and was choked out by fellow Irishman Joeseph Duffy at Cage Warriors 39.
Dos Anjos has vowed to break Conor "like a girl" and is confident his standup game will be effective against the featherweight champion. Alvarez will be frustrated if the Brazilian doesn't employ a grappling-based attack against McGregor and says he shouldn't abandon his BJJ base.
"I hate when guys who are from a BJJ background and a good wrestling background abandon their whole base and their whole fundamental because a lot of guys around them are telling them that they're really good strikers. I hope RDA doesn't do that. I hope he sticks to what he's good at and wins the fight in a dominant fashion the way he can, the way I feel like a lot of guys can that aren't doing it against Conor."
"There's a simple way to win against this guy and nobody seems to be doing it. It's really frustrating to watch."
Alvarez, who was a two-time Bellator lightweight champion before signing with the UFC, wore down Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 81 to win a lacklustre split decision. The 32-year-old was known for his brawling style in other MMA promotions but has adopted a more conservative approach in his UFC bouts.
Alvarez believes McGregor will look "foolish" if dos Anjos works his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the opening bell.
"I feel like he'll look foolish. I honestly feel it could be an embarrassment. It could be like everyone in the crowd going, 'Wow, that was it? Why didn't anybody else do that?' It could be that surprising to people. That's how I feel. We just haven't seen him there."
The lightweight championship tilt between Rafael dos Anjos and Conor McGregor will headline the UFC 196 PPV on March 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Transcriptions via Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting)