Age: 26 | UFC fights: 3 | Record: 17-2 | UFC wins: 2 | UFC losses: 1
Joel Alvarez is a young guy in the 185 lbs division trying to make a name for himself. He has been quite active in his UFC run, fighting twice in 2019 and once this year. He has shown great ability to win fights anywhere, with a submission and knockout win in his only two UFC wins. He lost his UFC debut against Damir Ismagulov, but that was a tough opponent, so don’t discredit him too much for that one. As with most young guys, he is still improving quite a bit, and could prove to be an exciting new addition to the UFC’s lightweight division.
Age: 36 | UFC fights: 8 | Record: 24-9-1 | UFC wins: 3 | UFC losses: 5
Russian Alexander Yakovlev isn’t exactly a new UFC fighter. His run in the promotion goes all the way back to 2014 where he had his first fight, to 2020 where he is scheduled to have his 9th. In his UFC run, he has amassed a 3-5 record, winning once via decision, once via submission, and once more via knockout. Yakovlev is a ‘classic’ Russian grappler who prefers to get his opponents to the ground. Yakovlev was out of action for three years in 2016, and returned in 2019 to win his come back fight by submission. This will be his 35th pro MMA fight.
UFC 254: Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev Prediction
I have to give this one to Alvarez. 10 year age advantage, 3-inch reach advantage and simply lands more punches on average than the Russian. Historically, guys that are 10 years younger than their opponents have won almost 65% of the time. Throw in the reach and volume advantage and I mostly see this fight going one way.
Prediction: Joel Alvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev via unanimous decision.