There’s meeting your idols, and then there’s fighting your idols. Welcome to the crazy world of MMA. While not exactly calling him an idol, ONE lightweight Iuri Lapicus, who is coming off a title fight loss in the promotion, told Cageside Press on Monday that he definitely watched ONE on TNT 1 opponent Eddie Alvarez coming up.
Lapicus (14-1) recalled during this week’s media day that “Eddie is someone that I’ve been watching since I was a kid.” Lapicus still remembers those fights, noting that “I’ve known [Alvarez for] a long time. I’ve also been studying his matches, studying his style and strategy.”
That should give Lapicus, whose only loss as a pro came to Christian Lee for the ONE lightweight title last year, some idea of what to expect from “The Underground King” come Wednesday. And while some may believe that Avarez’s best days are behind him, as he’s now years removed from his Bellator and UFC championship reigns, Lapicus feels that Alvarez is “on the same calibre, because all his experience is something he does not lose. So he’s still the same Eddie Alvarez.”
Lapicus himself has been somewhat overlooked heading into ONE on TNT 1. That’s to be expected: the Moldovan, fighting out of Italy, competed mainly in Italy prior to joining ONE Championship. “Of course I’ve been overlooked, because I don’t have the same experience. I’m probably not his level, mainly due to the fact that I don’t have his experience,” Lapicus pointed out. “But what I’m going to do is try to prove my value in the ONE ring.”
If he can do that, Iuri Lapicus could quickly find himself en route to another title shot.
Watch the full ONE on TNT 1 media day interview with Iuri Lapicus above. ONE on TNT 1 takes place this Wednesday, April 7, with the main card live on TNT starting at 10PM ET.