Bellator 58: Eddie Alvarez vs. Mike Chandler Preview
Unfortunately, they have (by either choice or necessity) decided to go head-to-head with the stacked UFC 139 card, featuring Hendo vs. Shogun and Wandy vs. Cung Le. If past head-to-head match-ups are any indication, the ratings battle should resemble Jose Canseco vs. Hong Main Choi. That is, a woefully one-sided result in a fight that wasn’t all that fair to begin with.
But ratings aside, the folks at Bellator must be excited for this weekend’s show, featuring their two most well-known and “legitimate” champions in very intriguing fights.
In the night’s main event, reigning Bellator Lightweight champion, family man, and all-around baddass Eddie Alvarez defends his belt against season 4 tournament winner Michael Chandler.
Philadelphia’s Eddie Alvarez is both Bellator’s biggest draw and its most legitimate champion, being ranked top-10 in the world by most reputable MMA sites. That’s a distinction that he alone among the Bellator champs enjoys. Alvarez is among the highest paid guys in Bellator, has been with the promotion since the start, and is a centrepiece of their promotional strategy.
It’s clear Bellator’s CEO Bjorn Rebney is enamoured with Alvarez. Just look at the incredible stalker-esque lengths Rebney went to with Scott Coker last summer to try to make an Eddie Alvarez vs. Gilbert Melendez fight happen in Strikeforce (my how the times have changed). There’s even talk Rebney is now trying to set up a rematch between Eddie and Japanese star Shinya Aoki, which would be very interesting.
But first, there’s Mike Chandler.
Undefeated in MMA, Chandler is an Xtreme Coture product who doesn’t have the name value of Eddie Alvarez – but might prove equally dangerous. Despite only having eight professional fights, Chandler tore through his tournament bracket in Season 4 with a combination of wrestling, power, and intensity. He has all the tools to, at the very least, give Eddie Alvarez a good fight.
It’s ironic that in the UFC this fight would never happen, especially if it meant derailing an Aoki/Alvarez rematch. But, in Bellator, the title shots are earned, not given (I’m just reading off the poster, folks). And Mike Chandler has earned his shot, even if you don’t know who the hell he is.
Like most Eddie Alvarez fights, I guarantee it’ll be exciting from bell-to-bell. Okay, I don’t “guarantee” but I’m pretty sure.
And there’s a lot riding on this fight beyond the 10 pounds of gold around Alvarez’s waist. If he wins, he keeps his spot as an “elite” level 155’er and keeps the door open to interesting fights – like the previously discussed bout with Shinya Aoki.
If Chandler wins, then there’s officially a new face to watch out of the renowned Xtreme Couture gym. There’s also a years worth, at least, of new fresh and exciting fights in the Bellator LW division should Chandler take home the belt..to Monica, I’m guessing.
Yes, the joke was easy and I made it. But Chandler vs. Alvarez is no joke and should make for yet another awesome scrap going down Saturday night.