Eddie Alvarez's return to active mixed martial arts competition did not go quite as expected. He faced Iuri Lapicus at ONE on TNT 1. The matchup served as a huge decider for the future of Eddie Alvarez's career.
'The Underground King' was aiming to close the distance between himself and the ONE lightweight title, with a possible win over Iuri acting as the catalyst. He believes that acquiring ONE Championship gold will make him the greatest lightweight of all time.
Unfortunately, his fight with Iuri Lapicus ended in a controversial stoppage. Eddie Alvarez was disqualified for landing illegal strikes. The referee deemed Alvarez' shots to have been delivered to the back of Lapicus' head.
In an interview with MMA Fighting following the fight, the 37-year-old reflected on the fight's conclusion. He said -
"I went back to my room and I was able to watch the clip of the fight and see everything. And it was a bad call on the referee's side. The American media is in uproar right now, and so are the American fans. I am going to respectfully ask them [ONE Championship] to look back at the video and reverse their call."
The former UFC lightweight champion was engaging in ground-and-pound without much resistance from Iuri Lapicus.
The Moldovan had his hands up to defend against Alvarez's blows. It was when Lapicus moved his head that Alvarez landed the shots that led to the referee calling a DQ stoppage. Discussing the stoppage, Eddie Alvarez said -
"Iuri was turning his head the other way and the referee warned me, he said to me ‘back of the head, Eddie'. So you see me take my head and I start shoving his head towards my punch. You’ll see it in the tape. When the ref warns me, I take my own head and I push Iuri’s to the side of the punch that it was coming. On top of that, I felt like as long as I’m hitting the ear at some point that it’s legal."
Eddie Alvarez shows class by asserting that his opponent's well-being is the top priority
Immediately after the fight ended, Eddie Alvarez stated right off the bat that he did not mean to harm his opponent. He said that the safety of every competitor is ultimately the top priority. He said -
"I hope Iuri is totally fine cause this game is so dangerous. All I care about is that everybody in here sincerely is safe and can go home to their family when they’re done. I’m praying for Iuri right now"
Alvarez declined to comment on whether he was considering pursuing a rematch. When asked whether he thought the pair running it back was the way to go, Eddie Alvarez said -
"All that matters is Iuri's safety. That's it, right now. That he is going to be okay."