We got news of an incredible bout signing between two of the brightest prospects in the sport of mixed martial arts, as Armenian talent Arman Tsarukyan takes on Spanish finisher Joel Alvarez.
This bout is to go down at UFC Fight Night 202 on February 26, 2022, at the Apex Center in Enterprise, Nevada.
The event is to be headlined by a pair of top lightweight contenders in No. 3 ranked Beneil Dariush and No. 4 ranked Islam Makhachev.
Let’s take a look at why this is such a stellar job of matchmaking:
Both of these men lost their UFC debuts, and have gone on tears since.
Both lost to Russian talents in those respective debuts, and both debuted losing in early 2019. Both came into the UFC as champions (Alvarez – AFL lightweight, Tsarukyan – FEMFP lightweight), and both have also won four fights since those defeats, improving to 4-1 inside the octagon.
Now, who they beat and how they beat them is where their runs have been a little different.
Alvarez debuted first, in February of 2019, losing to 17-1 Damir Ismagulov via unanimous decision, who’s now 20-1.
Since then, Alvarez knocked out Danilo Belluardo (12-3) in round two, submitted Joe Duffy (16-4) in round one with a guillotine choke, he submitted Alexander Yakovlev (24-9-1) with a straight armbar in just three minutes, and he just became the first man to finish Thiago Moises (15-5) with strikes.
Tsarukyan on the other hand debuted against Islam Makhachev himself, losing a unanimous decision to him, though he did steal a round, and he did take the Russian down a single time.
Since then, he has defeated the likes of fellow grapplers Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-4) and Davi Ramos (10-3), both via unanimous decision. This was followed up by a unanimous decision win over Matt Frevola (8-1-1), a fight he came quite close to finishing via submission a number of times.
When you consider the performance and knockout Frevola just had at UFC 270 against a 10-0 finisher, that’s incredibly impressive. Despite this, we still had yet to see Tsarukyan finish anyone through four UFC appearances.
It was however great to see him pick up a TKO victory in just over two minutes of his next bout against Christos Giagos (19-8).
Giagos may not have the most appealing record, but he’d gone 4-1 in the UFC since losing his promotional debut to Charles Oliveira, prior to fighting Tsarukyan.
Alvarez did miss weight for his last two appearances, and Tsarukyan missed weight for one of his last two fights as well. Hopefully that isn’t a problem for either this time around.
Tsarukyan comes in with a record of 17-2, having finished 11 of those opponents, while Alvarez comes in with a record of 19-2, having finished all 19 opponents, which is a remarkable feat. Unbelievable almost, especially in a division so stacked with tough opposition.
The only time he’s ever been the distance was in his defeat to Ismagulov.
Alvarez is just 28 years old, and Tsarukyan is even younger at 25, which is great to see. They’ve both improved so much since coming over to the UFC, and they both have so much more room to grow.
Realistically, both of these men could be champions in the future with the potential they’ve shown.
How does this one go?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.