Former Bellator Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez left the promotion on a high note, knocking out Patricky Freire with an emphatic headkick last October. That victory was expected to propel him into the mix at the UFC, as Alvarez noted that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had let him explore his options freely. The UFC has apparently offered Alvarez a contract, but Dana White has recently noted that the negotiations were not going along so smoothly.

Now comes news that Bellator has apparently matched the offer tendered to Alvarez by the UFC. Alvarez was in a contract match period, giving Bellator the right to review and thus match any offer he had received. Although none of the sides involved in the discussion released an official statement, Rebney was on hand to say the following:

"It really becomes for us a mathematical analysis. We know where we would want to be with Ed, we know what kind of a deal structure would work for Bellator and our partners at Spike TV, and we're just waiting. We'd like to keep him, but it will all boil down to the numbers." via MMAJunkie

A few months ago, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Alvarez would soon be plying his trade in the UFC with the best Lightweights the world has to offer. There are several good or even great fights waiting for him there, and no one expected any semblance of a return to Bellator after Rebney was kind enough to let him go to the UFC. Perhaps negotiations have gone south, and now the lawyers will get involved as Alvarez is set to make one of the toughest decisions of his career.

Where will Eddie Alvarez end up fighting in 2013? Does he need to make the move to the UFC to solidify his standing as a top contender?