Joel Alvarez got things started the right way at UFC 254 with a first-round armbar finish against Alexander Yakovlev.
Opening up the UFC 254 card on Saturday, bright and early for viewers in North America, were a pair of lightweights in Joel Alvarez and Alexander Yakovlev. Well, they would normally be lightweights. With Alvarez missing weight by a considerable margin, this early preliminary card fight was contested at a catchweight of 159.5lbs.
Which meant Alvarez also coughed up a hefty percentage of his fight purse.
The kicks of Alvarez were the early story of the first round. He worked inside and outside on the legs and the occasional high kick. Yakovlev reacted to taking some shots by shooting the takedown. Alvarez jumped for the guillotine instantly and looked to be sinking it deep. Yakovlev stayed composed and worked his head out. However, he would only be in full guard for a bit before Alvarez threw up the armbar for the tap.
First round armbar!
El Fenomeno showing off his solid ground game at #UFC254.
— UFC (@ufc) October 24, 2020
Since a tough decision loss in his promotional debut, Alvarez has been putting in the work, finishing his next three opponents. He’s shining as a ground specialist, with a ground-and-pound TKO and a guillotine finish against Joe Duffy. That streak continues with the nasty armbar against Yakovlev.
For Yakovlev, this is simply more tough sledding in the Octagon. This is now his third separate two-fight losing streak since joining the UFC in 2014, owning a subpar record of 3-6.
Joel Alvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev by Submission (Armbar) in Round 1 (3:00)