Bellator lightweight rivals Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler are set for a third fight after a rematch that saw Alvarez regain his title in dramatic and controversial fashion.
This time around, however, Bjorn Rebney and company actually plan on having the fight go down on pay-per-view. Alvarez vs. Chandler II was originally to be the co-main event of Bellator’s inaugural PPV event. However, when headliner Tito Ortiz was forced out of his main event bout with “Rampage” Jackson due to a neck injury, Bellator was forced to air the card on Spike TV.
Alvarez and Chandler delivered with a five round war at Bellator 106. Chandler maintained an advantage in the takedown department but Alvarez landed a ton of strikes. It was close, but Alvarez took home a split decision, handing the previously undefeated Chandler his only loss in mixed martial arts.
The bout was a deserving follow-up to their original November 2011 match, where Chandler submitted Alvarez in a bout that many deemed “Fight of the Year.” That fight almost ended up being the only one, as Alvarez famously tried to leave Bellator for the UFC but was met with a long, drawn-out, and drama-filled legal battle with the promotion.
Ultimately Alvarez returned to Bellator and showed no ill effects from the long layoff. No set date has been named for the fight as of yet, but one thing is certain: Alvarez and Chandler are two of the best lightweights on the planet. Their trilogy-ending rubber match should follow in the illustrious footsteps of the first two installments.
We still haven’t seen how fans are going to respond to a Bellator PPV. All of their events have aired for free on cable television, and Bellator 106 would have probably done dismal numbers with Alvarez vs. Chandler being really the only purchase-worthy bout. This first event is going to show a lot about Bellator’s ability to contend in a new market.
Will Alvarez once again prove he’s the true king, or is it time for Chandler to regain his throne? And will you be paying to find out?
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports