Eddie Alvarez made his way to ONE Championship in 2019. Unfortunately for the the former UFC champion, his first outing in the promotion ended with him being knocked out in the first round by Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE Championship: A New Era.
Nevertheless, the Philadelphia native took the loss in his stride and delivered one of the craziest comeback victories in promotional 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 an appropriate title considering Alvarez's heroic comeback that evening. ONE Championship commemorated the explosive lightweight clash on it's official YouTube channel recently.
"Take a special look back at the explosive lightweight mixed martial arts clash between American legend Eddie Alvarez and Filipino icon Eduard Folayang in 2019!"
Watch the video below:
Both fighters came out looking to establish the pace for the evening's festivities. The two traded shots until the 1:22 mark when Folayang landed a vicious calf kick to Alvarez's left leg.
Alvarez immediately went down, clearly in pain. Folayang attempted to capitalize, going down to the ground and reigning strikes from above the American. The former UFC and Bellator champion maintained his composure, moving to avoid strikes and throwing his legs up for a potential triangle.
Eddie Alvarez delivers a comeback for the ages
Folayang was determined to get the finish, but in the process, left himself open for a sweep. Alvarez slyly placed his right arm under the left leg of his opponent and brilliantly reversed the position.
In half guard, 'The Underground King' applied pressure and secured the mount less than 40 seconds after it looked as though the fight was over.
In a desperate attempt to escape, Folayang turned over, giving Alvarez his back. With the hooks already in, the American applied pressure to flatten out Folayang and snuck his arm underneath the chin, securing a rear-naked choke.
Folayang had no other choice but to tap out at the 2:16 mark, less than a minute after he appeared to be seconds away from moving onto the Grand Prix tournament finals.
While speaking during 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 became impatient and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible. But it didn’t go that way and that’s what happens.”
Unfortunately, Eddie Alvarez was unable to move onto the tournament finals despite an epic comeback. Alvarez confirmed that he was dealing with an ankle injury going into the bout with Folayang, which was further aggravated.
'The Underground King' has not competed since April 2021 at ONE on TNT 4, but a recent tweet from the lightweight appears to tease a return to the ONE circle sooner rather than later.