Eddie Alvarez made it to ONE Championship in 2019. Unfortunately for the former UFC champion, his first outing in the promotion ended with his first round elimination by Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE Championship: A New Era.
Nonetheless, the Philadelphia native took the loss in his stride and earned one of the craziest comeback wins in promotion history in his next outing.
In August 2019, “The Underground King” faced Eduard Folayang in the semi-finals of the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix tournament. The event, ONE: Dawn of Heroes was a fitting title considering Alvarez’s heroic return that night. ONE Championship recently commemorated the explosive lightweight clash on its official YouTube channel.
“Get a special look at the explosive light mixed martial arts clash between American legend Eddie Alvarez and Filipino icon Eduard Folayang in 2019!”
Watch the video below:
The two fighters came looking to set the pace for the evening’s festivities. The two shots traded until 1:22 when Folayang landed a vicious calf kick to Alvarez’s left leg.
Alvarez immediately fell, clearly in pain. Folayang tried to capitalize, going down to the ground and dominating the strikes over the American. The former UFC and Bellator champion kept his cool, moving to avoid strikes and raising his legs for a potential triangle.
Eddie Alvarez offers a comeback for the ages
Folayang was determined to finish, but in the process he left himself open for a sweep. Alvarez sneakily placed his right arm under his opponent’s left leg and reversed the position brilliantly.
In half guard, “The Underground King” applied pressure and secured the mount less than 40 seconds after it looked like the fight was over.
In a desperate attempt to escape, Folayang spun around, giving his back to Alvarez. With the hooks already in place, the American applied pressure to flatten Folayang and slid his arm under his chin, securing a rear choke.
Folayang had no choice but to retire at 2:16, less than a minute after appearing seconds away from advancing to the Grand Prix tournament final.
While speaking in a post-fight interview, Folayang blamed his impatience for the loss:
“I was so eager to get the finish and I think that’s the mistake. I was getting impatient and wanted to finish it as soon as possible. But it didn’t happen that way and that’s what is happening.
Unfortunately, Eddie Alvarez couldn’t advance to the tournament final despite an epic comeback. Alvarez confirmed that he suffered from an ankle injury before the fight with Folayang, which worsened further.
“The Underground King” hasn’t competed since April 2021 on ONE on TNT 4, but a recent tweet from the lightweight appears to be teasing a return to the ONE circle sooner rather than later.