If he earns the ONE Championship lightweight title, Eddie Alvarez will secure his third title in a major promotion.
Alvarez (30-7), who is a former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion, is set for his third fight in ONE. He competes during ONE on TNT 1 on April 7 against Iuri Lapicus (14-1).
Should Alvarez topple the No. 2-ranked ONE lightweight, he will set himself up for a possible title fight against the winner of champ Christian Lee vs. Timofey Nastyukhin. Lee and Nastyukhin are scheduled to fight on April 14 at ONE on TNT 2.
In a recent interview with Heavy, Alvarez gave his thoughts on fighting Lapicus. Lapicus is coming off the first loss of his professional career, dropping his title bid against Lee via first-round TKO in October.
“There’s not a ton of tape but I got to see him fight Christian Lee for a couple minutes there, and then we got to see him fight some Russian (Marat Gafurov) before,” Alvarez said. “I know his background is Judo.
“I can see kind of fundamentally what he is about. I’m going to go in there, feel him out, be instinctual. You never get through a fight with plan A anyway, so if we got to go to plan B, plan C, no big deal.”
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Alvarez Is ‘Fixated’ on the ONE Lightweight Belt, Expects Title Fight With Victory Over Lapicus
Alvarez had a rough start to his ONE run, losing his first fight to Nastyukhin via first-round TKO in March 2019. He bounced back four months later by defeating former ONE lightweight king Eduard Folayang by first-round rear-naked choke. Bolstered by a resume filled with high-profile victories, including wins over the likes of Justin Gaethje and Rafael dos Anjos, Alvarez believes defeating Lapicus will set himself up for a chance at ONE gold.
“I just beat the former champion on my last outing, so moving on up to No. 2, beat the No. 2 guy, and then I’ll challenge for a title,” Alvarez said.
“I’m just looking forward to continuing to progress and it’s gonna start with him. But at the end of the day, it’s just about me improving, me getting better and me getting closer to that world title.”
After the Lapicus fight on Wednesday, watching the matchup between Lee and Nastyukhin will be a high priority for “The Underground King.” At the end of the day, Alvarez is more focused on earning the belt than fighting a particular opponent. But, winning it by avenging his loss to Nastyukhin is enticing to Alvarez.
“Whoever holds that world title in their hand,” Alvarez said. “A rematch with Timofey would be great for the world title.”
“Either way, my eyes are on the prize. That’s all I’m fixated on, getting that belt around my waist.”
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