Eddie Alvarez will look to impress in his ONE FC debut when he takes on Timofey Nastyukhin later this month in the quarter final of ONE Championship’s lightweight Grand Prix.
Alvarez, the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion, is the favorite to win the tournament. But according to ONE FC featherweight champ Martin Nguyen, who predicts Alvarez will lose to Nastyukhin in his promotional debut, ‘The Underground King’ has lost his hunger and drive to compete at the championship level.
“My breakdown is I see Timofey beating Eddie,” Nguyen told John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock in a recent interview. “By decision, by knockout, I see Timofey beating Eddie in every department. Hats off to Eddie, he’s a legend, he’s a very good fighter, a very good mixed martial artist. But watching his last few fights, I don’t see the hunger as what it was moving from PRIDE to Bellator to the UFC. I don’t see that hunger anymore now that he’s moved from the UFC to ONE Championship.”
“He could prove me wrong; he could prove a lot of people wrong. Timofey was winning that fight against [Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev] until he got caught, he was knocked out. But in terms of Timofey as a fighter, he’s just a crazy fighter. He breaks his leg against [Kotetsu Boku] and he’s still fighting… I see a hunger in Timofey, wanting to win this fight.”
Nguyen believes Timofey is the younger, hungrier fighter who will be looking to make a name for himself against Alvarez.
“As I said, he’s a very good martial artist, very good fighter, he’s put in his time in the game. Everyone respects him no matter what he does. But in terms of a hunger to win, I see Timofey just that tiny bit hungrier because he’s facing a legend and he obviously wants to make a stance in his MMA fight career, and I think Timofey will come away with this one.”
Alvarez, who turned 35 earlier this year, last fought in July 2018, losing via knockout to Dustin Poirier at UFC on FOX 30. Prior to that, the Philadelphia local knocked out former WSOF lightweight champ Justin Gaethje in a Fight of the Night classic at UFC 218. Alvarez, an MMA veteran of over fifteen years, went 4-3 (1 NC) in his stint with the UFC, losing only to the divisional elite.
ONE Championship: A New Era takes place later this month, March 31 at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.